SCOTUS health care ruling could cost White Oak firm over half its business

United Benefits Agency sells care plans

CINCINNATI - David Kross' emotions turned from concern to worry Thursday.

The change came as he read news accounts of the Supreme Court upholding President Obama's health care reform act.

"We're going to lose 60 percent of our business come 2014," he said.  "It's going to change the marketplace forever."

Kross is Vice-President of United Benefits Agency, Inc., in White Oak.  The company sells health care coverage to small businesses.  In 2014 those companies won't be required to buy coverage.  Instead, their employees will have to purchase health care plans on their own.

"Every American will have to purchase coverage through one of the available options that are out there," he said.  "They don't have an excuse not to take the coverage.  It's a huge change."

On the plus side, Kross said the benefits of the plan are guaranteed coverage and no denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions.  He added the biggest negative is that prices are going to go up.

So, for United Benefits, the future is uncertain.

"It will be interesting to see if we're still here," he said.  "Sixty percent of our small business group clients have already said that come 2014 they would probably not offer coverage because there's no penalty for them not to offer coverage."

He added the only way employees can get a subsidy from the federal government is if they don't offer a group health plan and that individual buys from the exchange.

Another business owner said he's not sure whether to offer coverage, since it might be easier to pay fines for non-compliance than pay for medical insurance.

He cited as an example an employee that costs the company $15,000 year for health care.  It might be cheaper to give that person a $10,000 stipend to buy insurance, pay a fine of possibly $2,000 and still come out ahead.

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