Wherever he travels, Jeff Broms carries with him his copy of the Affordable Care Act — all 955 dog-eared and underlined pages of it.
"I've read it more than once," he admits.
While everyone talks about the new federal health care plan — commonly known as Obamacare — Broms is doing something about it: Setting up a company called Jatara Solutions in the Junction City Shopping Center, to work with companies in the new health insurance landscape.
Broms isn't abandoning Broms Furs and Fashion, a company that's been in business since 1957 (but only relocated to Junction City last year) but he's committed to his new sideline. "I love talking about health care," he said.
His involvement with health insurance started four years ago when Broms received word from his insurance carrier that, while his policy would cost the same, his annual deductible would increase from $2,500 to $10,000.
After investigating his options and starting research on the new federal health care plan (not yet passed at the time) Broms came to a conclusion: "There has to be something out here to protect people," he said, referring to both employers and employees under the new law.
What Broms discovered was that the 80/20 health insurance plans so common in the marketplace now (with the 20 percent being the deductible) are likely to soon be a thing of the past.
"By 2018, we'll all be in 60/40 plans because companies that give a better plan will be penalized," he said.
That's where Jatara Solutions — that Broms named after the "Avatar" movie — comes in.
Jatara is based on a simple concept — have companies put aside money, some of the money they've saved through the new plan, for employees to help fulfill the larger deductible.
"Under the 60/40 plan, a company is saving about $4,000 on each employee. We're saying take $2,000 of that and put it in a health allowance account," said Broms.
In other words, he said, the company is already saving $2,000 off the top on each employee but, in an effort to be competitive with other employers, would put $2,000 toward health expenses for that employee.
The need is definitely there, he said. With a 40-percent deductible, a family could face as much as $13,950 in out-of-pocket health expenses in a year, said Broms.
While the Jatara office won't open until later this month, Broms has already been making the rounds to explain his plan. "I've probably spoken to about 140 companies regarding this concept. Whenever I'm traveling for my business, I make it a point to make some calls," he said.
"I have some people ask me, 'Is this really going to be necessary?' I say that the longer you wait, the more you're going to pay," said Broms.
Page 2 of 2 - The whole concept of employer-provided health insurance is hanging in the balance, he said.
As a recent Time magazine article noted, health coverage became linked to employment during World War II when the federal government froze wages. That drove companies that wanted to attract or retain workers to come up with benefits — such as health insurance.
Broms sees the same competitive marketplace now working in favor of health allowance accounts. "All the companies are trying to come up with an angle. People will shop around," he said.
The first order of business regarding health insurance changes is to get out the information before making the sales effort, he said.
While much has been made of the failures of the government's website for those looking to sign up, not much has been focused on changes that the act will bring in years to come, said Broms.
"People are not getting all of this," said Broms, pointing to his copy of the Affordable Care Act. "The health care bill is designed to raise $110 billion to $140 billion a year for the government," he said.
Jatara, meanwhile, will soon take off. "We have seven employees now but we expect to have 30 by the end of 2014," said Broms.