Though Not Required, Mandan Business Owner Already Complying Wit - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Though Not Required, Mandan Small Business Owner Already Complying With Health Care Law

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According to a new survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 74 percent of small business says the new healthcare law will negatively impact employees and hiring.  Thirty percent say they're prepared for its requirements.  One local business owner is complying, even though the law won't impact his business when it comes online.

"We started with what today would be a laughable amount of money, and we're fortunate that things worked out for us," says Marc Taylor, Co-Owner, Northern Plains Equipment in Mandan.

Indeed, they have.

Northern Plains Equipment in Mandan has grown to a multi-million dollar company despite the ups and downs of the agricultural sector it serves.  Getting there caused a lot of sleepless nights worrying if the company would make it.

Now, some small businesses have something else to worry about -- the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.  "The really scary part about Obamacare today is the fact there's so many unknowns.  Nobody really knows and everybody's being extremely cautious, whether it's small business, big business," says Taylor.
The Small Business Administration says they haven't heard much from their North Dakota members about the healthcare law.  "That's because, quite honestly, 96 percent of all businesses have less than 50 employees," says Michael Gallagher, North Dakota Acting Deputy District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration.

Those businesses are not required to comply with the new law, though some small businesses, like Northern Plains, do so anyway.  "If it gets to the point where we're back to the days like 1988, when we had a severe drought, or something like that where our sales volume falls drastically, it's something we'll have to review," says Taylor.

In the end, these, and other factors, will cause the market to ultimately render a verdict on the new health care law.  "It's a cost of doing business, and what they're going to do is they're going to have to just pass it onto their customers," says Gallagher.  "I mean, at the end of the day, you've got a dollar.  You have to carve out what you can to keep your employees happy and to pay your interest and to pay your taxes, and if there's nothing left at the end of the day, you're not in business," says Taylor.

Businesses with 50 or more employees were recently granted an additional year -- until 2015 -- to comply with the employer mandate requiring them to share in the cost of employee healthcare coverage or face a penalty.

No similar extension of time has been afforded individuals, so 2014 is still the deadline for individuals to comply.


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