An advocate for Idaho small businesses is getting the word out to both employers and employees about a looming Obamacare deadline.
"The deadline that is right in front of all businesses is Oct. 1," said Suzanne Budge of the Idaho Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). "The reality now is that employers need to notify their employees that either they are being offered a health insurance plan, or they are not."
Budge spoke to IdahoReporter.com about some of the important facts and misconceptions surrounding the scheduled deadline for the launch of Idaho's Obamacare insurance next month.
Among the misconceptions, Budge debunked the erroneous reports that have emerged in other news publications stating that employers are forbidden from "discouraging" the use of the Idaho insurance exchange among their staffs. The false reports originated within a guest opinion co-authored by two attorneys who serve as legal counsel to the exchange. "That was interesting," she said of the false news, "but I don't think that's accurate."
There is a website, ExchangeForm.com, available to employers that provides alternative information to employers and employees about the ramifications of government health care coverage.
Earlier this year the question of how many different insurance plans that the Idaho insurance exchange would make available for purchase by small business owners within the state became a subject of controversy. While one of the agenda items of the federal Obamacare law has always been to provide businesses with multiple insurance plans to purchase, a report from both the New York Times and IdahoReporter.com in April indicating that only one plan would be available for purchase drew complaints from the US. Department of Health and Welfare (HHS).
However, in May of this year, the board of directors of the Idaho insurance exchange concluded that the insurance plan offerings for small businesses would indeed be limited to one, in contradiction to the claims made by HHS.
Budge suggests that we really don't know the facts on this matter yet. "I think we'll know come Oct. 1 when the exchange goes live," she said. "The truth is that there are a lot of questions out there and yet the answers aren't always there. We know that there is a whole lot that we don't know."
Budge also noted that while the federal Obamacare law requires one to obtain insurance, nobody in Idaho is legally required to obtain health insurance through the Obamacare exchange.
"The advantage for going to the exchange is that you might be eligible to get federal subisides," she explained. "That's really the main advantage for going to the exchange."
She also stated that for those who don't qualify for a federal government subsidy, the purchase of insurance through the exchange might not be such a great bargain. "You'll be paying exchange fees and the new health insurance taxes."
Complete audio of Budge's interview can be heard HERE.
Note: IdahoReporter.com is published by the Idaho Freedom Foundation. The foundation is responsible for the ExchangeForm.com website.