Major changes from the Affordable Care Act, which many people know as Obamacare, won't take effect until 2014, but experts say companies need to be making plans now.
More than 400 business owners and employees attended a forum on the issue organized by Rep. Robert Pittenger.
"It is the law of the land," Pittenger said, while explaining that he didn't support the law passed by Congress. But Pittenger advised businesses to learn as much about upcoming changes as they can.
Michael Tanner, an industry expert, said that's critical.
"People have to start making decisions now about what they're going to do in 2014," he said. "You can't wait until Dec. 31 and then change your whole health insurance profile or how many employees you're going to have."
The number of full-time workers a company employs will make a big difference in how Obamacare impacts them. The law says not only that most Americans will be required to have insurance beginning next year, but also that any company with more than 50 workers will be required to provide it or face fines.
At Henderson Properties, a property management company in Charlotte, owner Phil Henderson has lots of questions.
"I'm basically wondering what all the requirements are," he said.
Henderson is in a unique position. He has 49 employees, but if he hires one more he'll find himself included in the mandate to provide insurance. He said while he provides health insurance now he may reconsider, saying it may be cheaper to pay fines and discontinue health insurance for employees.
Even very small companies are facing decisions. Camisha Farris owns a flooring company with three employees. She said she'd like to include health insurance for those workers but isn't sure about the costs related to the Affordable Care Act. In the end, she said, it'll be about the bottom line.