by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 


Articles tagged with: Obamacare los angeles

01 March 2014

Yelp Hates This Los Angeles Restaurant for Charging "Obamacare" Fee

Posted in Latest News

Yelp Hates This Los Angeles Restaurant for Charging

UPDATE (10/10/14): Since this story broke, a baker's dozen worth of restaurants in Los Angeles are tacking on "Obamacare surcharges". Meet the one that started it all.

Republique, a Los Angeles restaurant that charges $8 for sourdough bread and butter can probably afford to pay for its employees' health insurance. Instead the owners opted for a surcharge to cover employee benefits, asking the public to pay.  

Under Obamacare, businesses with 50 or more full-time employees are mandated to offer affordable health insurance to workers in 2016 or must pay a fee for each uninsured worker. Some owners just couldn't wait to comply.

Unlike sluggish servers, Republique on La Brea Boulevard is taking no time to drop off the bill, which includes a new 3% "Healthy LA surcharge". Co-owners Bill Chait and Walter Manzke explained that the surcharge helps pay for employee health insurance without having to cut employee hours.

Rather than simply charging more for food, which some owners argue could raise business taxes, operational costs, and drive away customers, Republique settled with maintaining the $8 bread price tag and adding a fee. I assume most people who even pay for bread don't mind an additional 3%.

Whether the waiter awkwardly explains the "Obamacare charge" to his table or guests read the small print, Republique is keeping customers aware of Obamacare. Advertising compliance to a mandate 2 years early benefits Republique two ways: job-seekers will compete for positions that include health insurance and journalists in search of fresh Obamacare tales will advertise the restaurant, just like they featured other early Obamacare followers. 

But according to recent Republique reviews on Yelp, not all publicity is good. Customers who visited the restaurant, disgusted by the charge, complained that the owners are exploiting employees to make a point about Obamacare and forcing guests to pay for their employees' health insurance, rather than increase prices to cover the costs.

The fact is whether owners increase the price of ribs or add a surcharge, the public pays anyway. Owners simply get satisfaction by printing an Obamacare surcharge on every receipt and gloating over their compliance and disagreement.

The debate got juicier than a Cote de Pork on Yelp, where opinionated reviewers compiled a comments thread, showcasing multiple Obamacare surcharge offenders. The number of restaurants with Obamacare surcharges has only grown since.

One foodie who's only ever reviewed restaurants in 2 Arizona towns, called a Florida restaurant with an Obamacare surcharge "tacky". While he's correct that the practice of "tacking on" a surcharge is literally "tacky", ironically he failed to notice the tackiness of reviewing a place he's never been.

If owners want to grow their business and offer benefits without cutting hours, I'll pay more for food. But I won't pay a surcharge over Obamacare and I especially won't pay for bread and butter. I bring my own rolls.

09 May 2013

Introducing Covered California

Posted in Covered California

Introducing Covered California

UPDATED: See new Obamacare individual and family plans here.

UPDATED: See new Obamacare small business plans here.

    On October 1st, open enrollment begins for the health insurance marketplace (Exchange) known as Covered California, continuing through March 31st, 2014. What happens when the Exchange closes and you're left outside, wandering the streets of Los Angeles without insurance? As mandated by Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act), Americans must carry coverage through 2014 or pay an annual tax. If you have insurance already: great! There's nothing you need to do. Still want to shop around? Please continue reading!

    When earlier this spring Jurassic Park 3D debuted in Los Angeles, the state's Exchange, Covered California debuted its first town hall meeting in Riverside, California. Seats filled with insurance brokers from Los Angeles, teachers out of Riverside, and curious consumers across California: all engaged to learn the basics to Covered California. We were happy to be the last speakers at such a milestone event.

Above: A family of 4 enters the new marketplace, Covered California.

    Signed into law on March 23rd, 2010, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires each state organize an Exchange. On May 23rd, Covered California unveiled Obamacare health insurance through the Exchange, called Qualified Health Plans (QHPs). These plans are federally-required to be affordable for low to middle income consumers and contain 10 Essential Benefits.

    At Haronian Insurance we are Covered California Certified Agents, meaning we offer new Obamacare plans at an affordable price as well as traditional private insurance. Don't want to call the state call center or figure out the state website? Let us enroll for you and find the best plan out there.

    Covered California will make health insurance available for everyone, but as an added bonus, over 3 million Californians will qualify for tax credits ("subsidies") if they purchase Exchange health insurance plans. Beginning October 1st, tax credits will instantly lower the cost for health insurance if you qualify and enroll. What an age we live in!

    To keep it simple, individuals and families who make between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) qualify for subsidies. For individuals, that's around $14,000-$44,000. For a family of four, it's between $30,000-$92,000. Below shows the estimated monthly premium (in black) for a 40-year-old once subsidies (shown in "dollar bill green") are applied.

    Wish you attended Covered California's Riverside town hall meeting? Another meeting for Covered California in San Jose happens, May 10th, and Haronian Insurance will attend if you have any questions. Check it out by registering at 888.975.1141.

    Don't be left uncovered this fall, especially if you qualify for tax credits. To find out how much you can save on health insurance call 818.251.5000 or click below for a free quote!