Healthcare Reform is Coming Fast

Lynchburg, VA - Millions of Americans who don't have insurance right now will have to buy it and soon. Healthcare reform is coming soon.

The first big deadline is October 1. That's when the healthcare exchanges put their open for business signs out. If you don't have insurance, the exchange is where you need to go to get it.

A healthcare exchange isn't as scary as some may think, it's simply a website that people can go to shop for a health insurance plan.

Still, there are other parts of healthcare reform people do fear, especially one small business owner we met Tuesday.

Don Hamilton, owner of Immaculate Floors, will work in just about any element to get his new cleaning business to grow, but he worries healthcare reform will put a damper on his entrepreneurial dream.

"I feel that we needed some kind of healthcare reform, but I'm not a proponent of the government running everything," said Hamilton.

Unfortunately for Hamilton, in the next few months the government will start running some things in healthcare. For example, if Hamilton employees 55 people, the government will give him two options starting January 1: either give his staff health insurance or pay a penalty. For a 55 person staff, Hamilton would have to pay $50,000 in fines.

Brad Weaver at Weaver and Weaver Insurance is helping people like Hamilton navigate the new rules and regulations, and says there's a lot to it.

"It can be very expensive for a lot of our businesses if they are not offering health insurance," said Weaver.

"[It's] very complicated. You almost have to be a Philadelphia attorney to understand it," said Weaver.

Weaver admits at this point, it's a little early to worry. Registration isn't until October 1. When you are running a business, though, the future is always on the front of Hamilton's mind, he says.

"I am worried about what's going to happen next year," said Hamilton.

There's also penalty for individuals who don't buy health insurance. It's 1% of income, or $95, whichever is greater. The penalty is only the first year penalty; it will only go up from there.