The national health plan, popularly known as Obamacare, is a complex and confusing issue.
On Friday, Aug. 2, Ryan Tate, President and CEO of Tate Publishing and Enterprises, a Christian-based, family owned, book and music publisher from Mustang, appeared on Hannity, a cable news show on Fox News network.
Tate was part of a panel to discuss the national health plan and how it effects businesses.
"I do a lot of media across the country to talk about healthcare issues. We had a good mix of doctors, politicians, and business owners," Tate said.
Obamacare is designed to reform many aspects of the private and public health insurance industry. Part of the reform will require businesses, with 50 or more full-time employees, to offer affordable healthcare to their workers. If they don’t, the companies will be forced to pay a fine.
Obamacare was supposed to begin in January 2014. That’s not going to happen because not everybody can agree on the rules to this new game.
Here’s the rub for Tate and other business owners.
Tate’s health insurance for his company is up for renewal in September. Blue Cross Blue Shield, Tate’s insurance provider, says the rates are going up because of Obamacare.
"We currently pay 100 percent of the insurance costs for our employees and their families. Blue Cross Blue Shield says our rates are going up almost 32 percent. I don’t care if you are an individual or a company, a 32 percent increase is astronomical. It is almost obscene," Tate said.
Tate Publishing has 120-140 full time employees in Oklahoma. For the past several months, Tate has been looking at options.
The first option is a direct health plan with INTEGRIS and their health partners.
"This would be good, but the employee would need to be mindful of what doctor they see. They would have to stay within the INTEGRIS network," Tate said.
A second option would be for Tate Publishing to become the insurance provider - become self-funded. Option two would end up costing Tate more money, but not 32 percent more money. More like 3-5 percent.
A third option is to have other insurance providers bid on his business. Tate has eight different companies looking at providing his insurance. Most are coming in better than 32 percent, but it is still expensive.
"Everybody is facing a level of uncertainty. At the moment, all the questions have not been answered, yet business owners and individuals are being put in a position to make decisions. It is the uncertainty of everything that is creating a volatile market," Tate said.
Opponents of Obamacare want the government out of healthcare. Proponents says it will improve healthcare in the U.S. Tate just wants to take care of his employees.
"In September, I need new health insurance policies for my employees for the next year. In a year, I think I will know much more about what this is going to look like, so I can make a solid decision for my employees," Tate said.
According to Tate, Obamacare is not ready for prime time. Too many questions remain. One thing is for certain. Change is coming, but finding the common ground for opponents and proponents is not going to be easy.
"I think a lot of it is going to be trial and error. I think mistakes will be made and we are just going to have to make adjustments as we go along," Tate said.