Obamacare meetings scheduled next week





Downtown Vision and St. Catherine Hospital are sponsoring two meetings next week designed to give small businesses and not-for-profits information and answer questions about the federal Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, is a federal law signed by President Obama on March 23, 2010.

Beverly Schmitz Glass, director of Downtown Vision, said there are components of the law that will kick in next year that business owners need to know about.

"I know there's a lot of misinformation out there about how it impacts small business and not-for-profits, if at all. We're going to provide more information," Glass said.

The first meeting is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Wednesday at St. Catherine Hospital Classroom B (enter from the south hospital entrance).

The second meeting is at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in the city commission chambers on the second floor of the city administrative building, 301 N. Eighth St.

Representatives of the Kansas Insurance Commission and Kansas Department of Health and Environment will attend. Topics will likely include KanCare and Medicaid, and the insurance exchange part of the law. Glass believes the hospital may also have someone from Centura Health attend.

Glass said there will be brief presentations to start each meeting with a good portion devoted to answering questions about the law and its impact on businesses.

"I don't think a lot of people know what's out there (as part of insurance exchanges) and with the price of health care going up, a lot of these small businesses can no longer afford to cover their employees' health care costs," Glass said.

Glass said she's heard some business owners who are uncertain if the law impacts them if they have less than 50 employees, and others with more than 50 employees who think they will have to cover all their employees.

"What I was looking for is just to provide more information. Some business owners themselves don't have health insurance through a spouse or any at all," Glass said. "I thought with a little more information about this insurance exchange, at least they would have a place to go that would give them some direction, some agencies to talk to or something."

Also, Glass felt it was important to make sure small non-profit businesses that may only have one or two people running the operation, are in the loop about the law.

"Sometimes when people talk small business they don't think about not for profits and we wanted to make sure they had a place at the table," she said.

Those who need more information about the meetings should contact the Downtown Vision Office at 276-0891.

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