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Healthcare reform gets a close examination

Glendale Chamber of Commerce sponsors event on Affordable Care Act's impact.

September 25, 2013|By Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com

With new insurance exchanges created by federal healthcare reform launching next week, members of Glendale's business community heard Wednesday how the changes may affect them.

Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is in its early stages, the event gave the roughly 50 attendees a chance to look ahead at its impacts, including a mandate that businesses with more than 50 employees must offer health insurance to workers — a requirement that's been pushed back to the beginning of 2015.

The event, sponsored by the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, featured presentations by Panos Lykidis, vice president of the Camden Group, and Scott Morsch, senior vice president of Gallagher Benefit Services.

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Lykidis led off the morning with a presentation on why healthcare reform is necessary, detailing the growing cost of the current health system and the disappointing results it is providing.

Morsch followed with a presentation aimed at getting members of the business community to realize that they would be best served by adapting to the changes as soon as possible.

“You may not like it, it might not be the perfect solution, but it's the bill we have,” he said.

Morsch said that not offering health insurance could be more costly for businesses when factoring the cost difference between businesses providing a health plan with pre-tax dollars and the cost to reimburse individuals who buy a plan with post-tax dollars.

Plus, various penalties for not offering insurance drive up the cost, he added.

“You're not obligated today to offer healthcare and you do it anyway,” he said. “Why drop now?”

Certified public accountant James Dougherty, a partner at the Glendale accounting firm JLK Rosenberger, said the information was extremely important, even if his firm, with 22 full-time employees, might not be significantly impacted by the law.

Dougherty said that one of the partners at his firm had checked out the prospective price of a health insurance plan with the new insurance exchange in California and was considering switching from his employer-provided plan.

“It turns out, his premium would be lower there,” he said.

Participating in a panel discussion at the event, which was held at Glendale Adventist Medical Center, were Kevin Roberts, chief executive at Glendale Adventist; Jack Ivie, chief executive at Glendale Memorial Hospital; Cindy Trousdale, chief financial officer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital; local physician Janet Cunningham; and Chad Vargas, of the Health Services Advisory Group of California.

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Follow Daniel Siegal on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.

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