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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEWORLEANS- Many provisions of the Affordable Care Act are already in effect.

Provisions such as free wellness exams for seniors and allowing children up to age 26 to remain on their parents health insurance are embraced as a step in the right direction.

Mark Gsthol of New Orleans says so far - so good.

'I had two sons that just graduated college and they're under the age of 26 and health care is difficult for them because they're just entering the workforce and because they're covered it saves them money and it ensured that they have health care.'

But, the provision that calls for most Americans to have health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty has some in the insurance industry like Louisiana Association of Health Plans chief Jeff Drozda wondering about higher costs.

'Nothing is free,' said Drozda.

Insurance companies will get millions of new customers because of the Affordable Care Act, but they will also be hit with hefty new fees beginning in 2014.

'As we look at the tax assessment placed on the insurance companies it's going to be about $60 billion to $90 billion over a ten-year time frame,' said Drozda.

Mike Reitz, the head of Blue Cross - Blue Shield of Louisiana, the largest and oldest insurance company in the state says costs will likely be passed on to the consumer.

'Regardless, insurance costs are continuing to trend,' said Reitz. 'There are some tremendous burdens included in the law today, tax burdens that will naturally increase the cost of health insurance.'

There is also a fear in Louisiana that there are not enough doctors to handle the thousands of new patients entering the system.

'Here in the state of Louisiana there are 54 primary care physicians for every 100,000 Louisianians who live in the rural part of the state,' said Drozda. 'That's is a crisis situation.'

Most of the business owners we talked to say it's just too soon to tell the potential effects on their firm's bottom line.

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