EXPOSITION PARK (CBSLA.com) — A town hall meeting was held Thursday in Exposition Park to help local merchants navigate the implementation of health care reforms.

L.A. City Councilman Curren Price organized the Affordable Care Act town hall meeting for small businesses, telling KCAL9’s Amy Johnson it’s important to think not only about how the law affects families, but also local business owners.

“Health care reform is such a big issue nationally. And the impact is not just families, but businesses — small businesses especially,” he said.

“So it’s important that we start getting the word out to the small businesses to understand what the options are, what the responsibilities are and what the resources are.”

Michelle Banks Ordone, a certified Covered California educator, said she hopes to make the plan more clear and reassure confused business owners about their new options and benefits, including possible tax credits.

“There is a lot of misinformation,” she said.

“If you are providing insurance, if you are comfortable, if your staff is comfortable, there’s no reason you have to give that up. However, there are new opportunities you now have an option to look at.”

David London, owner of American Caregivers, was among those in attendance.

London’s company provides personal caregivers for seniors, and he says right now he’s concerned about taking care of his 65 employees.

“In the service business that we’re in, a healthy employee is a happy employee. And for us, if we have healthy and happy employees with access to health care, it directly affects the quality of care our clients receive,” he said.

Business owners can choose one of the six providers in the California care plan and then decide on the tier that will work best for their company.

For London, the Covered California plan may be the best option.

“For us to use the current provider, it would be a lot more than what we as a company can probably afford to pay. So the exchange would give us the option of looking at reducing that, because some of our current employees have pre-existing conditions,” he said.

So far more than 360,000 Californians have applied for insurance coverage through Covered California.


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