Small business owners learn about Affordable Care Act

2013-02-21T13:15:00Z 2013-02-21T15:53:06Z Small business owners learn about Affordable Care ActBy Vanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3244 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | A group of small-business owners gathered Thursday to hear about the changing landscape of health care.

The Hammond Innovation Center hosted "Healthy Staff, Healthy Business: Health Care for Small Businesses," a presentation given by George Gountanis, vice president of the midwest region of Forest Financial Group Inc., in Munster.

Gountanis explained some of the penalties and definitions associated with the Affordable Care Act as it applies to small-business owners.

A host of changes already are in place and more nuanced requirements are in store in 2014 regarding the way employers offer health care to employees. 

The act, commonly known as Obamacare, will mandate in that employees who work 30 hours or more a week be offered health insurance. Those who decline and those employers who decline to offer insurance will be penalized.

Gountanis advised the business owners to consult with their agents to weigh the pros and cons of offering insurance versus paying the penalty. 

One of the cons is an employee may not want to work for a company that does not offer insurance private benefits.

"It happens today," Gountanis said. "People pick jobs because of benefits."

Jim Sandrick, of Sandrick Financial Group LLC, in Whiting, attended the presentation so he can be better informed in his job of advising businesses on ways to cut debt and extend the life of his business.

Les Heichel, owner of Smiles Phone Service in Michigan City, said, as a sole proprietor, it is important for him to have a strong understanding of the Affordable Care Act. 

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