Health care reform leaves businesses with more questions than answers
Posted August 28
Durham, N.C. — Changes in the health care industry, including the Affordable Care Act, have raised a lot of questions for business owners, and many say they're getting few answers.
"It's very frustrating," said Seth Gross, owner of Pompierie's Pizza and Bull City Burger.
Gross said he wants to provide health coverage for his 72 employees, most of whom work part time.
"I want to give them a good option for solid health care that's affordable," he said. "I do not legally have to provide it, but I think it's the right thing to do."
So, he asked five insurers for quotes, but only two responded. Both offered rates that he considers unaffordable.
"The others just refused, and to this day, I don't know why," he said.
Looking for solutions, Gross was among the hundreds of people from Triangle businesses who attended a Thursday morning panel discussion on health care changes and rising costs.
Executives from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, United Healthcare, Cigna, FirstCarolinaCare and Coventry Health Care answered questions from both a moderator and the audience.
"It took a long time to get to where we are, but we are beginning the journey to try to make it simple and more affordable, and there's a lot of work left to do," Blue Cross Chief Executive Brad Wilson said.
Panelists said a collaborative effort among insurers, health care providers and consumers is needed for reform to work.
But for many of those in attendance, the event only reinforced the complicated nature of the issue.
"There's no simple answers and no simple solutions and certainly no one size fits all," said Karl Stein, executive director of Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic.
Gross left the forum disappointed.
"I asked them to address three points, and they didn't really address any of them," he said. "Everybody is sort of pointing fingers in other directions."