The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 30, 2013

Enid businesses not affected much by ACA

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Despite that health care reform brings new expectations to small businesses, Enid businesses seem not to be affected much by the Affordable Care Act at this point.

Rodger Griffin, owner of John Quigley Electric, said he bought health insurance to cover his employees about six months ago. In fact, the rates he got through Blue Cross Blue Shield were a pleasant surprise, Griffin said.

“Everyone gets to go to the doctor and stay healthy,” Griffin said.

Griffin himself has coverage through the Pawnee program.

“It’s basically for me and my secretary,” Griffin said. “It was pretty reasonable for the insurance we’ve got.”

Griffin said offering health insurance to employees has an advantage for his business.

“It does give us the opportunity to compete with the big businesses and say, ‘Hey, we offer insurance, too,’” Griffin said.

Mike Killam, manager of Athey Lumber, said the business already provided health insurance for its employees.

“We have furnished our employees with insurance for many years and we will not change what we’re doing,” Killam said.

Next year’s premiums actually are notching downward by 7.7 percent, Killam said.

Killam noted that several years ago, fears of widespread computer failure turned out to be untrue.

“Who knows what the future will bring?” Killam said. “So far, at our place, the ACA is kind of like Y2K.”

Monty Moore, co-owner of the accounting firm Moore, Lovell and Glasser, said the business only has four full-time employees.

“We have so few employees it really doesn’t affect our business at all,” Moore said.

Doug Kapka, manager of B & J Appliance, said health insurance plans previously purchased by the company for its employees have been grandfathered in for next year.

“We’re just going through a renewal right now and that’s what we were told,” Kapka said.

Jason Benge, owner of J A Benge heating and air conditioning company, said the company didn’t notice health insurance rates going either up or down.

“We’ve always supplied health insurance for the employees,” Benge said. “We’re renewing it next year and so far the rates are about the same.”

Micah Stone, owner of the Bike Shop, said the ACA is not an issue with his business.

“It doesn’t have any effect on me because I don’t have any employees,” Stone said.

J.D. Boyer, president of First State Bank of Pond Creek, said employees health insurance premiums with Blue Cross Blue Shield increased a bit.

“We’re already in a plan and it’s just rolling over at this moment,” Boyer said.

Although Boyer predicts more drastic increases later, the increase is modest now.

“I think we’re going to have some real problems with affordability and shifting more to the employees,” Boyer said.

Merlin Nightingale, owner of Enid Tile & Marble, said the company will continue to offer the same insurance as before for its 13 employees.

“At this point, it hasn’t affected us,” Nightingale said. “We were able to renew and be OK for a year.”

Nightingale said he does not know what 2015 will bring.