The latest in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and what it means for you as an individual and as an employer/small-group policy…
If you have an individual or small-group policy, you NEED to read this blog to understand the questions you should be asking about the Affordable Care Act, and the additional information you must consider.
It started last week with an apology from President Obama regarding his statement: “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.” More than 4 million people received notification from their providers that their plans were no longer available because they did not meet minimum requirements (this does not include the 20 states that don’t track this information). Today, HR 3350 – Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013 passed in the House of Representatives; leading Democrats have noted that, before they deal with this issue in legislative format, they want to see how the President’s short-term fix will assist in this effort.
Some major issues have already arisen with the one-year extension of your healthcare plan:
a. Because your plan has already been cancelled, will you have to reapply? Will your rates have changed? Will you be guaranteed the ability to get back on the exact same plan? What will the new rates be?
b. Eight states, including California and New York, have recently forbidden insurance companies to continue to sell individual or small-group health plans unless they meet the new federal standards for coverage. Because this administrative fix by President Obama on Nov. 14 is purely voluntary, individuals in these states will still not be allowed to go back to their old plans.
c. What about a year from now? The same problem will occur; you’ve just delayed the problem, not fixed it. Is a legislative fix necessary? Already, various bills have been introduced by both parties – S. 1642, S 1699 (no text yet), and HR 3350 – that would either make permanent or further extend the individual/small-group policy that they can stay the same.
NSCA heard from members who received policy cancellation notices. One member in California had an individual plan that was cancelled, but the state said, “Don’t worry … we’ve automatically enrolled you in a plan that meets the minimum standards.” Her new cost is 100% more than the cost of her old plan.
Individuals well beyond child-bearing years are getting these notices because their plans don’t include maternity coverage. But what sense does it make to have maternity coverage on all plans when it’s not necessary? These issues and more are increasing the cost of healthcare.
There are more questions than there are answers right. NSCA will make sure you’re aware of these issues, so keep watching this blog!