Valley employers struggling with Affordable Care Act

PHOENIX - Health care for everyone sounds great, but accomplishing it is proving to be difficult for Valley businesses.

Valley companies are working closely with insurance companies to figure out how the upcoming Affordable Care Act mandate will affect their business and employees.

Jeff Stelnik of Blue Cross Blue Shield has met with more than 3,000 Arizona companies to help break down the new law set to go into effect in January 2015. "The changes to the health care system that are coming are one of the biggest we've ever seen. They are highly complex. The law itself is over 2,000 pages," said Stelnik.

The Affordable Care Act mandate requires companies with at least 50 employees to provide health care coverage to employees working at least 30 hours a week. If a company does not provide the health benefits to qualified employees, they will face a penalty that can be upwards of $2,000 per employee.

The Heard Museum in Phoenix has been working with Stelnik to understand how the new mandate will affect them. They are doing their best to insure all of their employees are covered.

"We care about the overall well-being of our employees. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and pay the increased cost,"said Heard Museum CFO Carol Rojas.

Although the Heard Museum is one of the many Valley companies working to accommodate their employees in accordance with the upcoming health care changes, there are a number of employees who are seeing the negative side effects. Some employees who would otherwise qualify for the benefits are being given less hours so they don't meet the 30 hour requirement.

For more information on the Affordable Care Act, the Phoenix and Chandler Chamber of Commerce are holding a seminar open to the public.

Chandler will hold their seminar Wednesday, August 21, at 7:30 a.m. at the Chandler Chamber of Commerce in Suite 201.

Phoenix Chamber of Commerce will hold their seminar Thursday, August 22, at 7:30 a.m. at the Phoenix Airport Marriott.

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