Health care reform leaves businesses with more questions than answers

Posted August 28, 2014

— 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."


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  • veryfrustrated1 Aug 29, 2014

    Last year, the renewal premium for health coverage for me and my employees went up 31%. This year, I have been quoted a 28% renewal increase. Compounded that equates to a 68% premium increase in just 2 years! There is no way for small businesses to absorb this! obama and hagan told us that we could keep our doctors and insurance and that PREMIUMS WOULD GO DOWN ABOUT $2500.00 ON AVERAGE FOR A FAMILY OF 4!!!!!

    Please remember that kay hagan supported and voted for this horse poo, when you vote in November and throw her out for that and for lying to us!!!!

  • Gary_too Aug 29, 2014

    When am I going to get the $2500 reduction in my premium that the President promised me?

  • itsnotmeiswear Aug 29, 2014

    The insurers are the biggest problem. Their contracts with the providers are designed have the insured pay the providers via their deductible and out of pocket copay while they just push paper. The solution, in my opinion, is to pay the providers 150% of the medicare reimbursement rate. From my discussions with doctors, they would gladly accept this rate, and the only loser is the insurance company because they would have to compete on price and service rather than smoke and mirrors.

  • 68_dodge_polara Aug 29, 2014

    "So, he asked five insurers for quotes, but only two responded. Both offered rates that he considers unaffordable."

    Not surprising as most business are being forced to purchase the insurance and when this occurs the free market that controls cost is removed from the equation. What a mess.

  • glarg Aug 29, 2014

    Panelists said a collaborative effort among insurers, health care providers and consumers is needed for reform to work.This isnt a good report.

    Not only are we not clear about what the positions are, we arent even clear about what the problems are.

    One guy cant get "affordable" health insurance for part time employees. What does that even mean? And he didnt get a call back from three companies so is this a customer service problem? Or they dont issue those types of policies?

    And what does "collaborative effort" even mean? We all need to pay more in?

  • itsnotmeiswear Aug 29, 2014

    View quoted thread

    So your identical policy with the same deductible, same out of pocket max, same wellness benefits, and same prescription coverage, tripled in price? In every incident that I have seen in the news where something like this was claimed, the individual went from a HSA with a sky high deductible (basically no insurance) to a ACA compliant plan.

  • earnyourownway Aug 29, 2014

    I hate to be a person who wishes something bad on another individual, but I can only hope that every policy is affected the way my policy has been. Government supplied coverage for government workers better triple like mine did. And the taxpayers should not have to cover the extra high premiums. Pass it on to the employee just like I now have to pay.
    Then maybe everyone will realize what this affordable heath care really is. It's just another entitlement program.

  • mike275132 Aug 28, 2014

    Small business and Large Business will dump employees into ObamaCare, leaving the employee to fend for themselves.

    Just the outcome the Democrats wanted.