More health care info sessions likely on the way

Local attorneys explained the basics of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Wednesday during a Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce information session on health care reforms.

But with more changes, definitions and details of the act yet to emerge, Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Diane Schwenke announced to the 18 local business owners in attendance at the session that the chamber will likely host a series of future sessions on the subject. David Scanga, an attorney with Hoskin Farina & Kampf who presented information at Wednesday’s session with two of his colleagues, suggested the sessions break down health care reforms by topic rather than try to tackle the entire ever-evolving law.

“Regulations and notices are coming out daily,” Scanga said.

Fellow attorney Jarrod Pearson said uncertainties left in the Affordable Care Act include how to calculate employees to determine if a business qualifies for a small business tax credit and whether an employer can determine if a health care plan is affordable for employees based solely on information reported on a W-2 form.

Amont the rules that have so far been established in the law and covered at Wednesday’s session include health plans for employees being allowed to be “grandfathered” in if they existed and had at least one enrollee on or before March 23, 2010; companies must have on average during the previous year at least 50 full-time employees who worked at least 30 hours a week, plus a full-time equivalent number calculated for part-time employees who work 24 or more hours a week, to be considered for a tax penalty for not offering adequate health insurance; and employers who are charged a penalty don’t have to pay a penalty on their first 30 full-time employees. After the first 30 full-time employees, the penalty is $166.66 per person per month.


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