Business Owners Contemplate Affordable Care Act Impact - 8 News NOW

Business Owners Contemplate Affordable Care Act Impact

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"I think every business owner has some trepidation about it," said John Arena, the co-owner of Metro Pizza. "I think every business owner has some trepidation about it," said John Arena, the co-owner of Metro Pizza.
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LAS VEGAS -- Business owners around the Las Vegas valley are preparing for when they will be required to offer health insurance to their employees or face being fined. The employer mandate part of the Affordable Care Act goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014.

The new legislation requires any business with 50 or more full-time workers to offer health insurance to its employees. Businesses with fewer than 50 workers are exempt.

"Services industries, your restaurateur, your landscaping company, these are the ones that are really fearful," said Frank Nolima, Assurance Limited.

"I think every business owner has some trepidation about it," said John Arena, the co-owner Metro Pizza. "We are all uneasy about how it's going to be implemented."

At Metro Pizza, hot pies and cold salads are the specialties, but come next January, the owners may have to cook up some cost saving strategies. Metro Pizza has six locations across the valley and 200 employees.

"In the past, we never laid anybody off and we never reduced hours. Depending on how the cost of this plays out, we may have to make some hard decisions," Arena said.

"If I have 52 or 55 employees, I would try to stay at 49 or 48," said Tammi Delsangro, the owner Giuseppe's Bar & Grille.

Delsangro says in order to keep insurance costs down; she will lower the number of employees at her bar and grill near Durango Drive and Russell Road. The law does consider employees who work more than 30 hours a week full-time. It also takes into account full-time equivalents. So, 120 hours a month of part-time labor is equal to one employee.

Read more on the Affordable Care Act and how it impacts businesses and employees.

Employers who are required to provide insurance, but don't, will face fines. Employers could also face fines if the coverage is considered unaffordable.

Frank Nolima is an employee's benefit consultant whose clients include many small businesses in the valley. He says companies need to map out their financial plans now.

"They really have to start planning today as to what they will face on Jan. of 2014," he said.

It's estimated more than 95 percent of businesses in Nevada have 50 or fewer full-time employees, so they won't be impacted by the act.

Starting in 2014, employees who are not offered insurance from their employer will be able to buy it directly in the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace will offer a choice of health plans required to meet certain benefits and cost standards.

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