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Small Businesses Have Big Questions About Health Care Law

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Oregon.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Oregon.

Office of Rep. Suzanne Bonamici

Small business owners met with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici in Beaverton Monday, to learn how they might be affected by the Affordable Care Act.

They came with many questions.

Stephen Twelker runs the human relations department of the Portland non-profit River Network.

It has 14 employees insured with Kaiser Permanente. But a third of them work outside the state and Twelker wants to know if he can get them a better deal.

“Since we’re a relatively small employer, we think we can get our group plan through the exchange,” he said. “And then our employees will have a lot of choice. I believe some of them should be able to choose Kaiser, others can choose other providers that they want to.”

Other businesses owners wanted to know if companies were tweaking the hours of workers to make them part-time, so the companies don’t have to provide insurance, and whether the wage of the owner of a small company would count in working out tax eligibility requirements.

Oregon’s new health insurance exchange, Cover Oregon opens October 1. Coverage starts in January.

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