Local Businesses Still Studying Impacts Of Affordable Care Act

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas Some businesses are still trying to figure out how the Affordable Care Act will affect their bottom line.

News 3 visited with some small businesses in Bryan-College Station.

At least one owner says he can't afford to provide insurance, and will pay the penalties instead.

As the country remains deeply divided over the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, some College Station businesses are expressing concerns over the legislation.

"The biggest concern is that we will be required to provide health insurance but nothing has been done to mediate the the costs," said Aron Collins, who owns Comfort Keepers in College Station.

His business provides non-medical home care for seniors with plans to grow from about 80 employees now to 100.

He says he won't be able to provide health insurance to his full-time employees by the January 2015 government mandate.

"The cost would be in $400,000 range at current premium levels," he said.

Instead he'll pay a penalty of $2,000 per employee which Collins says is cheaper.

"I would love to be able to provide affordable insurance that was comprehensive for my employees and I haven't seen anything in the legislation that contributes to that," said Collins.

Smaller businesses with fewer than 50 employees like Allergy Associates of the Brazos Valley won't be required to provide insurance.

But Dr. Barry Paull says he already pays his employees' insurance.

"If it gets to a point where we can't afford to put everybody on, we may actually start to charge our employees a certain percentage of it," said Dr. Paull.

Paull wishes there was a less costly solution.

"Healthcare is expensive and we've kind of gotten to the point where a lot of people can't afford healthcare because it is so expensive. So universal healthcare has always been a goal," he said.

In a recent CBS News / New York Times Poll only 39 percent of Americans approve of the Affordable Care Act while 51 percent disapprove.

Online Exchanges open to the public October 1st with different options to enroll for health care.

Smaller businesses with less than 25 employees will also be able to apply for a tax credit to offset costs of insuring their employees if they decide to provide them health insurance.