ST. PAUL, MINN. – In the Iron Range mining town of Chisholm, one small company is making some big things happen. NHS-Northstar Specialized Services provides progressive, comprehensive and individualized services for people with disabilities throughout Northeastern Minnesota. The company already employs more than 250 professionals and paraprofessionals and now NHS-Northstar Human Resources Director Justin Terch says because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the company is adding 50 more benefits-eligible full-time jobs.
“When you get scared you can easily panic, and it would have been easy for us to make cuts when we first heard about the Affordable Care Act. Instead, we found a way to make our company healthier and leaner without reducing wages and by complying with the ACA. This was a way to adjust our business model in a way that reflected our values,” Terch said.
The Affordable Care Act, by making coverage more affordable, means companies like NHS-Northstar are able to leverage their costs and provide the same or better health care coverage. Senator David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm) says the Chisholm-based company could be a trendsetter among small businesses.
“NHS-Northstar is increasing their capacity to better serve their clients — and they’re able to do this by balancing fiscal responsibility with opting to be an employer of choice. We so frequently hear complaints from the Right about what will happen to small businesses when the ACA is fully implemented. NHS-Northstar is proof that the ACA can make things better and does fit the business model for small businesses right here at home,” Senator Tomassoni said.
“Instead of laying people off so they don’t have to implement the new healthcare law, NHS has found that hiring more people compliments their work model while taking advantage of the ACA,” Tomassoni continued.
NHS-Northstar celebrated their 25th year of doing business this month. Minnesota created a state-based health care exchange as part of the ACA. The exchange, called MNsure goes online for open enrollment on October 1.