Last Thursday, September 12th, I attended a health care reform panel discussion presented by Independence Blue Cross and Philadelphia Business Journal at the Union League.
During the panel discussion, the panelists answered questions posed by the moderator on how the new health care law will affect you and your employees.
As part of the health care reform panel discussion, attendees were provided with the small business guide to health care law presented by Independence Blue Cross. This guide was created to help with understanding how the health care law (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) will affect the way you provide health care benefits to your employees.
Part 1: A General Overview of Health Care Law
The provisions that make up the Health Care Law will affect virtually everyone- including small businesses. Below is a list on some of the upcoming things that will change the new health care law:
- Everyone will be required to have health insurance
- Individual and Small Group health plans must include 10 core benefits, which are referred to as essential health benefits
- Employees must work at least 30 hours per week to be considered full-time
- Many single people and working families who purchase their coverage on their own may get assistance from the government to help pay their health care coverage costs. This includes many people who the government does not currently help
- Many state Medical Assistance programs, also known as Medicaid, are expanding by offering health plans to more people who are uninsured
- There will also be a new alternative to buy health insurance: the Health Insurance Marketplace
- Rates for individual and small group plans (up to 50 employees) will be based on who will be covered under the health plan, their age, where they live, whether they smoke, and the health plan they select
Responsibilities of Employers and Employees
As of January 1, 2014, most individuals will need to enroll in health care coverage or be subject to government penalties. This provision is known as the individual mandate. One of the ways an individual can obtain health coverage is through a group health plan provided by an employer
Groups (up to 50 employees) do not have to offer health care coverage, although the Individual Mandate for health coverage still applies to their employees.
As of January 1, 2015, groups with 50 or more full time or full time equivalent employees will be required to offer health care coverage to all of their full-time employees or face a penalty. This is referred to as the Employer Shared Responsibility rule.
If you have questions regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or penalties that could impact groups with 50 or more employees, please contact your JKJ Benefits representative.
Author: Allison Wright, Corporate Communications Director