El Paso, TX (KDBC) — As it stands now, open enrollment for Obamacare will start next week on October 1st.
So what does that mean for local businesses and El Pasoans?
According to a CNN study, the most recent numbers collected in 2010, Obamacare will only apply to 3% of America's small businesses. That means companies with at least fifty employees will have to provide health insurance to their employees or face penalties.
Here in the borderland, we talked to a small business ESEI, an IT managing group, about the changes.
"Due to the penalties and the high cost of insurance rates, a lot of people are gonna opt to pay penalties. So that defeats the purpose of trying to have everyone covered," said Maria Elena Trejo, with ESEI.
ESEI only has nine employees so it will not be affected much by the changes, but Trejo says it may detour the company from growing, especially because she believes the cost of healthcare will continues to rise.
But Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that in Texas, the premiums in the new health insurance marketplace will be much lower than expected. The average Texan without health insurance will get to choose from 54 different health plans. That kind of competition will keep the insurance prices low for consumers.
For example, a twenty-seven year-old who makes $25,000 per year will pay $81 per month for the lowest cost plan. But a lot of people are still conflicted and confused about Obamacare.
"As businesses, we're going to get some education, but the day to day people that don't work, they're not being informed," said Trejo.
One El Pasoan we spoke to, that is insured, was unaware of what the changes mean.
"I'm pretty illiterate to Obamacare because I haven't gotten an explanation about how the program works," said Gino Espinoza.
Another El Pasoan we talked to was uninsured and not planning on purchasing health insurance.
"Like useless for people that don't really need it," she said.
Lastly, one El Pasoan voiced both sides of the argument on Obamacare.
"I don't think that people should be forced to buy things. But at the same time I think it's good for the healthcare system," said Omar Baker.
If you have more questions about healthcare options head to: enrollelpaso.org