Few topics guarantee the confusion and emotional wattage of the new national healthcare bill passed in March. The Internet is ablaze with pro and anti sentiments that run the gamut of rationality, from quiet pride to apocalyptic fear.

Somewhere in the middle the truth waits to be discovered, but until it is, we still have to contend with a sweeping new way of life. Employers in particular can be confused over what the passage of this bill means to them.

To help employers sort through the morass of conflicting, misleading, and downright confusing information out there, Keith McMurdy of the law firm Fox Rothschild will present “Healthcare Reform: What Employers Need To Know Now” on Tuesday, May 18,at 8:30 a.m. at 997 Lenox Drive. For more information on this free event, E-mail rsvp@foxrothschild.com or call 215-299-2759.

McMurdy is a specialist in employment and labor law and a frequent writer on the subject for Fox Rothschild (http://employeebenefits.foxrothschild.com). He got his bachelor’s from Grove City College in Pennsylvania in 1990 and his J.D. from Case Western Reserve in 1993.

While no one is yet sure how the bill will affect employers, there are a few things we know for sure. First, employers of fewer than 50 will not be required to provide insurance to their employees. Neither, technically, will employers of 50 or more. However, those who do not offer coverage will face a fine of $2,000 per worker per year for any worker receiving federal subsidies to purchase health insurance.

New businesses, however, will likely have to pay as much as $750 annually, even if they have few employees.

Also, if you offer benefits that are too expensive for some employees, those employees can buy insurance on the open market, but the employer would then be required contribute a percentage toward that coverage, via a voucher, on par with the contribution it would have made had the employee enrolled with the employer’s plan.

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