Pulaski Co. hosts U.S., state health leaders for health care for - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Pulaski Co. hosts U.S., state health leaders for health care forum

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PULASKI COUNTY, VA -

Andy Mcready employs six people full time in Pulaski County at his lumber and storage businesses. All of them this year, are covered under a company health plan. He hopes to continue covering them next year, even though he will not be required to by law, but says he is unclear whether he will be able to afford it.

"That unknown is what's costing our local businesses the ability to expand and add employees," said Mcready.

Federal and state health leaders spent an hour answering questions from people like Mcready Monday afternoon. Joanne Grossi,  Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Virginia Health and Human Resources Secretary Dr. Bill Hazel provided some answers.

If you have fewer than 50 employees, you're not required to, but if you choose to and we hope you do, there is going to be a separate marketplace set up for you, where you can have your employees go in to purchase health insurance. If you do that, we'll give you a tax credit of up to 50 percent to help you buy that health insurance," said Grossi.

"I think that everyone should be prepared for this to be a little bit of a bumpy process because it's all new and it's going to take a little time to work out as we sort out who will get what coverage, who pays for what coverage," said Hazel.

It is just as important, Grossi added, to encourage your employees to make healthier choices and stay out of doctor's offices altogether if they can.

"Work site wellness is so important. How we encourage our employees to eat right, to exercise," said Grossi.

So while people like Mcready got some much needed answers about the impact the Affordable Care Act will have on their business, they have until open enrollment in October to figure it all out.

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