For years, small business owner Douglas Ogden wanted to provide his employees health insurance, but just couldn’t afford it.
The Beverly Hills resident, who runs a dry cleaning business in West Hollywood with nine employees, knows the importance of having health insurance.
When he was diagnosed with central sleep apnea earlier this year – a condition that if left untreated could lead to heart disease and strokes — insurance companies flatly refused to cover him because of his pre-existing condition. It was quite by accident, he said, that he found out about California’s Pre-Existing Condition Health Insurance Program, a stopgap program under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that offers health insurance at an affordable cost. He enrolled in it.
Starting January 1, when the ACA is fully implemented, insurers will be banned from denying health insurance to anyone with a pre-existing health condition.
“But I am still not able to provide employer-sponsored insurance to my employees because of the cost of coverage for individual plans,” lamented Ogden who has been operating dry cleaning businesses in different parts of Southern California for more than two decades.
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