Paradise business drops employee insurance due to Obamacare

Nonprofit organizations in Paradise suffer under Affordable Care Act

PARADISE, Calif. - The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has created a rash of headaches for employees of a nonprofit-organization in Paradise.

Last week they learned that because of the new law their employer would stop providing health care insurance.

Ninety employees of California Vocations, a state-funded nonprofit that supports adults with developmental disabilities, learned that their insurance with Blue Shield will be terminated at the end of the year.

California Vocations Executive Director Bob Irvine said it's been frustrating for the organization and its employees.

Irvine said the organization's board of directors cancelled its policies because the new Obamacare regulations force it to purchase more expensive policies it simply can not afford.

"That would have been another 250,000 dollars" said Irvine.

Instead, it's cheaper to pay a 100,000 dollar per year fine for not providing health care insurance, saving the company $150,000 by canceling the policy.

Employees are left to fend for themselves.

"They were comfortable with the plan they have," said Irvine.  "I think the biggest thing they're working through now is the fear of not knowing if their doctor is going to be covered on the plan, not knowing if they types of medical care are covered, not knowing if their prescriptions are covered under the plan."

Off camera, many employees said that they're worried and frustrated by what's happened. But Lisa Nixon has faith in her employer that they'll do right by them.

"I've been here 30 years.  I just celebrated my 30-year anniversary here," said Nixon.  " This company really cares about me. I believe that."

Many of the employees are low-income and they may qualify for subsidies under the Obamacare plan.  For the others, the board said it will give pay increases to help defray the cost of the added expense of getting an upgraded health care policy.

Employees at California Vocations have until the first of the year to get their insurance affairs in order.

The executive director said insurance industry experts will give one-on-one guidance to help them get through the change.

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