Forum Aims To Help Maine Businesses Understand Affordable Care Act 

After President Obama’s re-election, it looks like his healthcare law is here to stay.Wednesday in Augusta, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce tried to give employers some help implementing the new law.It was a full house at the Augusta Civic Center as people from all over Maine showed up to learn more about how the Affordable Care Act will impact their health insurance coverage. “I found legislators here today. I found small business representatives, large business representatives, I’ve seen insurance companies, I’ve seen brokers. It’s essentially a good cross section of everybody affected and, in truth, this act affects all if us,” said Dana Connors, President & CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce.The forum was aimed at Maine’s business community, where employers are struggling to implement regulations that many of them still don’t fully understand. “I think the challenge that we face as an employer community is that there are immense regulations associated with this law and requirements as to how their insurance plans need to be structured,” said Joel Allumbaugh, who’s the CEO at National Work Site Benefit Group and a guest speaker at the event.Connors says this is the third forum they’ve held so far and employers seem to need the guidance. “Surely the employer is affected in a number of different ways. By the mandates themselves, by the benefits that must be covered, by the medicaid expansions. There are so many moving parts, if you will, to this law.”2014 is when most of the law will have to be implemented, but a number of regulations took affect before Thanksgiving, with many more to follow. Katie Mahoney, Executive Director of Health Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was also one of the speakers hoping to make sense of the new law. “I think that’s the major concern for businesses now as they look to implement the health reform law is will they me able to have the flexibility to offer plans that make sense for their employees and their companies,” Mahoney said.Chamber officials plan to make this forum an annual event to keep Mainers up to speed on the Affordable Care Act.