Q & A: JoAnne Kasper, local business owner, on whether Obamacare worries still keep her up at night
JoAnn Kasper of Weare. Owner and Director of Little Buttercups Nursery School. "As a small business, the cost is obviously going to be high on my list of 'What would it cost me, what's it going to cost them' and everyone is going to have to have it." "I wanted to know what's going to be affordable for them. How is it going to benefit them and the cost-share, what will the company have to pay and what can I offer." (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff)
On Aug. 7, JoAnne Kasper took the day off from working at Little Buttercups, her Weare preschool, to attend a forum for small-business owners to learn more about the Affordable Care Act. Kasper was both concerned and confused about what the law would mean for her and her 10 employees.
“It keeps you up nights,” she said after the seminar.
Last week, with just a few days to go until tomorrow’s opening of the state’s health insurance marketplace, the Monitor checked in to see how she feels now.
At the forum, you learned that only businesses with 50 or more employees are required to provide insurance. How has that made you feel?
Oh, I’m definitely feeling better. I’m small enough I don’t have to jump through a window right now. It took the idea of, how can I make this affordable for everybody, off the plate, so I’ve been able to change my focus. I can focus on my school, and I don’t have to have that as the foremost concern.”
Have you talked with other businesses in the same situation?
I did. I talked to other small day cares and their concern was the same, there’s no way to afford insurance for every one. We talked and got on the exchange, and it started to make sense to them, too, so it’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one rowing in that boat.
Will you look at the options available on the marketplace after it opens Oct. 1, even though, since you have fewer than 50 employees, you don’t have to provide insurance?
Yes, I’ll be looking. I have one staff member who is going to need this.
She has nobody who offers insurance.
She can’t stay on her parents’ (insurance) anymore, so what I’m going to do is go through the options available for her which are out there.
Will you contribute toward her premium costs?
It depends which plan she chooses, but yes, that is something I’d like to be able to do as an additional benefit.
This young lady is in good health, and she just wants a physical. She’s single, no children, but this way, she’s not going to get in any trouble.
I feel like that’s taking the edge off of everybody.
What will you be doing between now and January, when the new plans could take effect?
I’ve been making her aware of where to get the information and asking how comfortable does she feel with it.
I will be talking it through with her. . . . I’ll do it right with her, that way if there’s a question I’m standing right there so she’s free to ask questions. Whether I know the answer or not, I know where to get the answer. It’s more educational for her.
I think that will be best, putting two heads together is better than just one.
What concerns do you still have?
At the forum, they talked about it being more competitive and more companies would be forthcoming.
Right now there’s just the one, and I’d like to see it be more competitive.
They said that was coming in the future years, so we’ll have to see.
(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or
email@example.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)