Top 3 Health Care Reform Laws Affecting Employers in 2014
Despite all the back and forth over the last few years, it would appear the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is here to stay, with some of the biggest changes taking place this year. That means you have probably already experienced an influx of employees with questions, concerns and a whole lot of incorrect information showing up at your door. It’s not necessarily their fault. Getting a handle on the changes that will be taking place can be confusing, and there are all kinds of conflicting reports circulating news feeds every day. But if you want to make sure your company is in compliance, it’s time to brush up on these 3 health care reform laws that will be changing the way you do business in 2014.
1. New Taxes for Benefit Plans
Nobody likes hearing that premiums are going up, particularly when you have to decide as an employer whether to absorb those increases yourself or pass them on to employees. But it is important to know that the new ACA Health Insurance Tax and Transitional Reinsurance Fee will be prompting insurance carriers to add an additional 3.5 to 4 percent to your premiums in the year to come. Depending on who your carrier is, you may have been hit with this increase as early as January 1st. Others will be waiting until your plan’s renewal date to hike up your rates. If you want to know what is in store for your plan, you need to contact your insurance broker or carrier for more details.
2. Limit on Waiting Periods
Up to now, most companies have enacted waiting periods lasting anywhere from 60 to 90 days for insurance eligibility, with coverage becoming available to employees starting the first of the month following the end of that waiting period. This is where things are about to change. The new health care reform laws now restrict those waiting periods to no more than 60 days meaning your employees have to be enrolled prior to the end of that 60-day deadline – no more waiting until the first of the following month for benefits to begin. In many cases, this is going to mean that employees will be eligible for benefits in the month following a 30-day employment period, so that they can still be effective with coverage on the 1st of the month. Your insurance broker should be able to help you come up with the best strategy for implementing these new guidelines.
3. Individual Mandate
By now, everyone should know that 2014 marks the year where all individuals will be required to have health insurance. This insurance can be provided through an employer, purchased from a private insurance company, or through Covered California, California’s state-run exchange. From a business standpoint, what you need to know is that your employees can’t just bow out of their group coverage in order to get individual coverage privately or through Covered California. This is only possible through a qualifying event; marriage, divorce, legal separation, birth or adoption, death or the involuntary loss of coverage. However, Covered California, and any potential premium subsidies, will be available to your employees who are only part-time and not otherwise eligible for coverage through your group plan.
Know Your Resources
The key piece of information you should take away here is that your company’s insurance broker should be your best friend in the months to come. Allevity, Inc. has relationships with several insurance brokers and can assist you with keeping your company on track. While it is important for you to remain updated and aware of the changes that are taking place, Allevity and your broker are experts who can help guide you when any questions come up. Be informed, but know who to ask when even you are stumped.