Health care reform may mean bad news for some ski areas

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 25, 2010 4:47 pm

The historical health care reform bill that President Barack Obama recently signed no doubt means good things for some and not so good things for others. For certain ski resorts in New Hampshire, the law may have a negative impact on their economies.

According to the reform, in 2014, business that don’t offer medical insurance to employees who work more than 120 days per year will be fined $2,000 per employee. Many businesses in the ski industry need to figure out a way to offer comprehensive health plans, or else face an economic situation that may not be possible for them to follow.

“We want to comply with the law, but we need to do it in a way that’s economically feasible,” said Alice Pearce of SkiNH.

WMUR New Hampshire has more:

“Pearce said the original Senate version of the health care bill had a more forgiving threshold. It used a 150-day baseline and imposed a $750 fine. SkiNH said that model would have provided enough leeway for ski areas, but big ski resorts could now face about $1 million in fines if they don’t comply.

“It could result in fewer employees being hired, and we’d hate to see that because employees are important for guest services,” Pearce said.

Pearce said the costs could be passed directly to consumers, who might end up seeing an increase in the price of lift tickets.

“Skiers love being on the slopes, and they will find the money, but they’re going to try and find it in a way that is a good deal for them and a good value for them, and this is something where we can’t simply pass costs on to the guests,” Pearce said. “It just won’t work.”

U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., said his office is communicating with the ski industry, and he will continue fighting to improve health care and to protect New Hampshire’s tourism industry.

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., said the concerns have been brought to her office, and she will work to ensure that the appropriate changes are made prior to the law’s implementation in 2014.”