Healthcare Reform and Small Businesses

Esser Hayes Insurance Group started in Naperville more than 70 years ago. Today, the company has more than 50 employees, the magic number come 2014. Companies with that many full-time employees will have to provide healthcare coverage or pay a tax that starts at $2,000 per uninsured employee.

“It’s not going to impact us directly,” said Bill Hayes, President of Esser Hayes Insurance Group. “We’re still going to offer health insurance to be competitive with our benefits package for our employees.”

But it will hit other companies, and according to some lawmakers it already has.

“Small businesses are afraid to hire anymore because they don’t know what is going to be the cost with the new healthcare bill,” said Congresswoman Judy Biggert.

Esser Hayes also provides healthcare coverage for a lot of Naperville’s small businesses. Their clients are afraid of how much healthcare coverage is going to cost them come 2014.

“They’re looking to us for guidance,” said Hayes. “They want to know in this uncertain period what is going to transpire. Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of answers for them yet.”

Part of the problem is that now each state is supposed to set up a healthcare exchange for people without insurance, but Illinois has yet to announce how their exchange will work.

“We’re on top of that as the rules come out and we just try and give them the information when we get it and then work on helping them make informed decisions,” said Hayes.

The tax will also cost people without full-time jobs, starting in 2014, individuals will have to prove they have insurance on their tax returns. If they don’t have coverage, they’ll have to pay.

Republicans believe if Mitt Romney is elected as President this November, he’ll work with his party to overturn Obamacare.

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