Tonawanda News

Local News

November 13, 2013

Forum Tuesday provided 'Obamacare' details

Tonawanda News — An expert on “Obamacare” tried to simplify what some consider confusing new laws Tuesday at a forum on the Affordable Care Act held by the Niagara Falls NY Chamber of Commerce.

The lightly attended lunchtime event at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls, provided some explanation of the health care changes and the way they will impact the lives of New Yorkers. 

“I’m going to make this real simple,” said Jonelle Marchese of Bene-Care of Amherst, who gave the presentation.

She said small business owners in New York State can chose one of two ways to purchase their health care.  They can buy it on the New York State exchange or purchase their insurance directly from a provider as they have always done.

There is one caveat. The only way to get a tax credit is to buy insurance from the exchange, she said.  “If you don’t go through the exchange, nothing changes,” she added.  (The state’s online exhange page is www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov.) Small businesses may qualify for a tax credit if they have 25 employees or less with an average annual wage below $50,000 and cover more than 50 percent of each policy.

“It’s really funny. With all the hub-bub you hear in the media,” she said, “that’s really all there is to it ... nothing has changed for the small business owner.”

Marchese’s company, Bene-Care, is the health care benefits advisor for the Niagara Falls NY Chamber. “Our job is working with the chamber to make sense of all of it for you,” she said. “That’s a service we provide at no fee.”

There were several points she made about the new Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare.”  They include these:

—There is a calculator on the New York State Exchange site to help people determine if they are eligible for a tax credit.

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