Municipalities struggle with Affordable Care Act

MARION, IL (KFVS) - The Affordable Care Act is perhaps one of the most complicated and possibly misunderstood laws in our nation's history.

Now, it's not only citizens who are trying to figure out how the act is going to effect them, so are city leaders in Marion.

"We've got to find out what the mandates are from the Federal Government," said Marion Mayor Bob Butler. "I'm not sure the bureaucrats in Washington know. So how are they going to tell us?"

The City of Marion has more than 300 people with healthcare insurance at this time. As of Oct. 1, the city must provide each one of them via email or mail as to the services and benefits of the city's plan, and those of the exchanges set up by the government.

"We have to give our employees information on what benefits and services we have, which in its self would not be a problem," said Jane Kidwell City of Marion Human Resources Director. "But then we also have to tell them that there are exchanges out there. And where they can get information on the exchanges. But there aren't any exchanges."

City leaders are worried about possible penalties they may face for noncompliance with the act and other fees they're going to be burdened with in order to comply with the act.

"If we miss a date, a mandated time to do something and we haven't been advised on it, are we going to be penalized," said Mayor Butler. "There's so many unanswered questions in this that we're trying to sort out."

One thing the city has figured out is that they're going to have to pay another $38,000 annually in fees associated with the Affordable Care Act.

The changes and fees are scheduled to continue through the year 2019.

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