NASE President Kristie Arslan talks Obamacare and its effect on the self-employed (Phoenix Business Journal)

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NASE President Kristie Arslan talks Obamacare and its effect on the self-employed (Phoenix Business Journal)

NASE President & CEO Kristie Arslan was featured in a Phoenix Business Blog story on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the self-employed.  Of the 22 million self-employed Americans, 380,000 reside in Arizona.

Link to the full article here.

NASE President Kristie Arslan talks Obamacare and its effect on the self-employed

By: Tim Gallen, Report, Phoenix Business Journal

Along with about 22 million people nationwide, nearly 380,000 Arizonans are self-employed, and they will all see an impact from the Affordable Care Act when the law goes into full effect next year.

Kristie Arslan, president and CEO of the National Association for the Self-Employed, was in Phoenix earlier this week speaking at the Direct Selling Association Conference. She spared a few minutes following her presentation to speak with me about some of the issues that the self-employed will face under the new health care reform law known as Obamacare.
One positive for the self-employed under the ACA, Arslan said, will be the expanded choices of insurance options, as well as the mandate that insurance companies cannot deny coverage.

“The self-employed have long been at the mercy of the insurance underwriting process,” Arslan said. “So many people venture into self-employed later in life and usually at a time when, on paper, health insurance companies think they might be a bit risky health-wise.”
Another benefit for the ranks of self-employed will be the baseline coverage insurance plans must offer under the new law. Insurance plans must cover certain preventive care services, which many self-employed usually go without, Arslan said.

When shopping for insurance, the self-employed usually focus on cost, which leads them to signing up for high-deductible plans with little to no preventive care service coverage.
“Oftentimes, the self-employed have health plans that are more catastrophic (coverage) but don’t cover preventative services,” she said.

While expanded choices with broader coverage will a plus, it will be a double-edged sword, Arslan said, because with increased coverage comes increased cost. “It’s great they will have access to comprehensive care but there’s a significant cost issue,” she said.

The NASE projects that self-employed individuals will experience anywhere from a 10 to 20 percent increase in premiums because of reforms in Obamacare.

Self-employed workers will be able to keep their existing plans if they wish even after the law goes into full effect, Arslan said, or they can purchase new coverage through the state insurance exchange.

Of course, coverage for the individual employee is one thing, but the law’s mandate that all Americans have coverage also will add up if family members are not covered.

“It is a big concern because if they can’t afford it based on their family budget then they’ll be paying these penalties, which, through the years, get significantly more costly,” Arslan said.
While the ACA doesn’t go into full effect until Jan. 1, Arslan noted that open enrollment with state exchanges will begin in October, giving self-employed individuals even less time to educate themselves and figure out what to do.

If you’re self-employed you must “start looking at options in your state and getting ready for October if you’re uninsured or if you’re willing to take the penalty,” she said.

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