Health Care Act: Navigating Obamacare
According to Cunningham, the biggest concerns for membership are centered around costs, with horror stories centered on rates doubling, even tripling. He's heard from printers who are doing their best to fall under the 50-employee mark, using less seasonal workers to stay under the cutoff. But Cunningham doesn't foresee printers cutting ranks in order to avoid being north of the threshold.
At this point, education is critical for membership, Cunningham notes. "The three or four employee shop that is so busy getting by, day by day, is not as aware of what's going on," he says. "We have a membership program where we're calling them on a regular basis...we reach those people who may typically not see the information. This is an unusual circumstance, so we want to help get them as educated as everyone else. There are so many unknowns.
"It's going to come down to the wire with what's going to happen and how people are going to be affected," Cunningham adds. "For some, the rates are going to potentially increase considerably. At some point, it becomes a balancing act for them. They're paying a lot more for insurance and they have to look at where that's coming from and how it's going to offset their costs. And for some of the self-insured plans like ours, there are benefits that we hope are going to come to fruition that offer them an alternative to the potential huge increases that they may see from their existing carriers."
One of many printing companies that falls in the 50-100 employee range is Metzgers Inc.,Toledo, OH. Andrea Ohrt, CFO for Metzgers, doesn't anticipate any significant changes to the company's health plan, but the six-month measuring period may mean that a number of employees who were designated as part-time workers will need to be offered health insurance benefits. The Obamacare threshold of 30 hours is less than Metzgers' 36-hour, full-time status.