For all the talk around marketing healthcare reform and crashing exchange websites – something seems to be getting lost. That is the impact the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has on small business and the impact on AE Marketing Group is very real.
You see we are as much a start-up business (AE was founded in early 2011) as we are an “ Ad Agency”. This means individual and family health insurance plans for most of us.
Personally, I have an individual and family plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield IL that costs $12K a year for our premiums and deductible. Imagine my surprise when BCBS notified me last week that due to the ACA, my plan would no longer be available on Jan 1.
What happened to “If you like your plan you can keep your plan”? But, I didn’t panic as BCBS’s ad campaign is “Through it All” so they must be there for me, right? Well, yes and no. You see I can buy a “similar” plan to what I had. The cost difference – $10-$12K more a year…Yes, my insurance costs have almost just doubled.
Unfortunately, I am not alone and many of us are shaking our heads asking ourselves, how can we afford this? A-ha – the Insurance Exchange must be the answer as all we have heard for years is “lower costs for all”. Think again as a recent Chicago Tribune analysis showed 21 of 22 lowest price plans on the IL Exchange still have deductibles between $4-$8K and that’s after monthly premiums. Ouch.
So as AE continues to grow in customer brands, products and services we now must pause to rethink benefits (HSA Contributions, 401K, Profit-Sharing) and staff plans. But as good corporate citizens and responsible individuals, we will do more with less. We just wish our government would learn they to need to adopt that mindset as well.