Tag Archive: Affordable Care Act

affordable care act

What is a Medical Insurance Exchange?

Shop for Healthcare at Exchange

A Medical Insurance Exchange is an online marketplace where people can compare policies side by side, and buy health insurance.  The public exchanges allow applicants to determine whether they qualify for government subsidies.
For 2014, open enrollment started October 1st, and runs through March 31st.  Coverage begins in January, 2014.

The affordable health care act requires almost all Americans to have health insurance, or pay a penalty to the government.  The penalty starts at $95 in 2014, but increases to at least $695 by 2016.  In the public exchanges, premium subsidies are available for individuals earning up to $46,000 annually, and for families, premium subsidies are available with incomes up to $94,200.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.cookandcookassociates.com/2013/10/25/what-is-a-medical-insurance-exchange/

10 Things Every Business Should Know About Healthcare Reform

Questions about healthcared1     Consult a Knowledgeable Insurance Professional

A licensed health insurance broker, serving as your consultant, can be valuable to you in understanding the facts of health reform.

2    Public and Private Health “Exchanges” Come Online

Open enrollment is scheduled to begin in October of 2013 for Health Insurance Exchanges, with coverage effective January 2014.  Private health insurance exchanges are also expanding to offer businesses and employees more choices for coverage at an affordable rate.

3    Health Plans Will Be Classified in “Metal” Categories

Health insurance plans will receive a metal rating- Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze- based on “actuarial value” calculations.  For example, Platinum plans will provide coverage for 90 percent of costs while policyholders pay 10 percent.  Bronze plans would offer 60 percent coverage while policyholders would pay the remaining 40 percent of medical costs out-of-pocket.

4    Tax Credits for Small Employers

Employers with fewer than 25 employees and average annual wages of less than $50,000 may claim a tax credit for the cost of providing insurance beginning with 2011 tax returns.  Beginning in 2014 this tax credit is only available to eligible small employers who purchase coverage through the Exchange.

5    W-2 Reporting

Businesses that issued 250 or more W-2’s in 2011 must begin to report on 2012 W-2’s (issued Jan. 2013) the aggregate value of health benefits provided to each employee including medical, dental, and vision coverage.

6    “Essential Health Benefits” Defined

Beginning in 2014, health plans must provide coverage for a minimum set of products and services in the following 10 categories: outpatient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse disorder services, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services and devices, laboratory services, preventive and chronic disease services and pediatric services including oral and vision care.

7    Requirement to Inform Employees

Beginning in 2013, employers must provide each employee with written information on the employer health plan, health exchanges, available subsidies for insurance and guidelines on how to purchase insurance.  Further guidance is scheduled for release in late summer, early Fall of 2013, postponed from the original March 2013 deadline.

8    Automatic Enrollment

Employers with more than 200 employees must automatically enroll employees in employer-sponsored plans; however, the IRS has said that rules for this requirement will not be issued until 2014.

9    Limits on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

Beginning January 1, 2013, FSAs, which allow employees to save tax-free dollars that can be used to pay medical expenses not covered by insurance plans, will have a plan year limit of $2,500 in 2013 (indexed for cost of living adjustments after 2013).

10  Employer Play or Pay

Beginning in 2015, employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees will pay a penalty fee if they do not offer health coverage or if they offer coverage which is not affordable or doesn’t have minimum value (60%) and at least one full-time employee receives a premium subsidy.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.cookandcookassociates.com/2013/09/06/10-things-every-business-should-know-about-health-reform/

Affordable Care Act: What You Should Know Today

Businesswoman shrugging, isolated on white backgroundMost of the law will be in effect January 1, 2014.

What happens to the uninsured?

There will be a Medicaid expansion for those individuals making less than $16,000 per year.

For individual higher earners, there will be tax credits available on the online exchanges.

Businesses with more than 50 employees won’t be required to cover their full time employees until 2015.

There will be more preventative services and wellness incentives.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.cookandcookassociates.com/2013/07/11/affordable-care-act-what-you-should-know-today/

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