October 1, 2013
New Employee Notification Deadline TODAY
In case you missed it, today marks an important change in healthcare. The marketplaces, or exchanges, which have been in development for the purpose of providing individuals with an efficient way to purchase health insurance, are expected to go live today. If you intend to purchase coverage through an exchange, here are some things you need to know.
Each State Has Its Own Exchange
Whether your state has opted to create and maintain their own exchange or has decided to allow the federal government to facilitate an exchange in your state, there will be a specific exchange in place for each state.
Individuals and Exchanges
It is unclear whether these markets will be fully functioning today. In fact, it’s very reasonable to expect delays or other technical issues. Still, the deadline for individuals to obtain healthcare coverage is March 31, 2014. This mandate is expected to be enforced, regardless of the status of the exchanges. Should you have trouble obtaining insurance from an exchange, you will still face penalties as an individual or family for not having healthcare coverage in the coming year.
Exchanges and the ACA
One advantage to purchasing through an exchange is you do not risk purchasing a plan that does not qualify.
Employers and Exchanges
Exchanges for small businesses, called Small Business Health Options Programs (SHOPs) are expected to open November 1, 2013 for businesses with less than fifty employees. If you intend to purchase healthcare coverage for your employees before then, you will need to seek advice from an independent broker to find a plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act.
However, regardless of the number of people you employ, and whether you are required according to the Affordable Care Act to provide healthcare for your employees, you are required to notify your employees of the opening of the exchanges. The deadline for disbursing these notifications is TODAY, October 1, 2013. Below is a link to the notification (OMB No. 1210-0149).
Check back for the latest updates on the status of the exchanges and the implementation of the other phases of Obamacare, as well as information regarding other newly required notifications as they become available.
New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage Form