Monday, June 17. 2013
The Affordable Care Act's coverage mandate goes into effect starting next year for all companies with more than 50 employees working 30-plus hours per week must provide them with health insurance options. Now, however, many say they might look to reevaluate the number of hours those people work in order to avoid potential headaches.
Slightly less than a quarter of owners say they don't know yet how they will keep tabs of the number of hours employees work when it comes to making sure they are compliant with the ACA's mandates, according to a new poll from Mercer. Already, more than nine out of 10 employers say that they'll likely be facing higher costs when it comes to staying within the law's rules, and slightly less than one-fifth say those increases will be significant.
Further, nearly four in five say that they're concerned about the requirements for communicating all aspects of the ACA to their workers, as the law requires, the report said.
Employers dealing with these issues may want to make sure they're doing all they can to get their insurance issues squared away ahead of the law taking effect, just to ensure that there are no potential hiccups as the deadline approaches.
Sunday, June 16. 2013
Consumers nationwide might have been expecting a wide variety of health insurance options, but now it seems that their choices could be extremely limited based upon the states in which they live.
For instance, in California, about 13 insurance companies are expected to offer various types of plans to residents through its state-run insurance exchange, while those in Maine will probably be able to choose from just two, according to a report from the New York Times. This, in turn, could lead to substantial difficulties when it comes to many people finding the most affordable coverage possible when the Affordable Care Act's coverage mandate goes into effect.
Often, this is the result of companies not wanting to wade into unknown waters, and instead waiting on the sidelines to see how things progress under the new rules, the report said. During that time, though, those with limited options will likely face higher premiums and other difficulties in dealing with these plans.
For these reasons, it may be wise for those without insurance to start trying to find the most affordable coverage as soon as possible to avoid any future headaches stemming from the potentially high costs of marketplaces with little competition.
Thursday, June 13. 2013
While the deadline by which companies will have to provide health insurance options to their full-time workers is rapidly approaching, it seems a large amount are still unsure of how they will do it, or even what effects the Affordable Care Act will have on their companies.
For instance, nearly one-third of all companies still say they don't even know how much covering their employees will end up costing them, according to a new survey from Mercer. In addition, slightly less than one in five say they expect costs to rise significantly, and those optimistic that the law will have either little or no impact on their current costs dropped to 9 percent from one-quarter two years ago.
However, there has been little change in how companies are budgeting for an uptick in the number of workers they cover, the report said. Only 17 percent are doing so, while 42 percent say they won't. The remaining 41 percent simply haven't made a decision even at this late date.
The ACA's coverage mandate goes into effect on January 1, 2014, and at that point all companies with 50 or more employees working 30-plus hours per week will be required to at least offer coverage, potentially significantly increasing their insurance burdens going forward.
Wednesday, June 12. 2013
The Affordable Care Act's coverage mandate goes into effect next year and will likely have a major impact on small businesses in particular, but currently, few insurers are offering plans through state or federal exchanges for these companies.
The Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP) exchanges have received little interest from major health insurance companies to this point, and that could put many independent enterprises in difficult positions when it comes to covering employees, according to a report from Politico. The reason for the limited participation seems to be few tax incentives to do so, and the fact that some aspects of the SHOP marketplaces are delayed until the beginning of 2015 as well.
"I think the SHOP exchanges are basically a 2015 issue, but we will see how they work out in the states that are doing them, and they might turn out to be a bigger factor going forward," Tim Jost, a Washington and Lee University law professor and supporter of the health law, told the site.
Small business owners may therefore need to make more informed decisions about their healthcare plans for next year as soon as possible as a means of complying with the federal law mandating coverage for workers at companies with 50 or more full-time employees.
Tuesday, June 11. 2013
The Affordable Care Act's coverage mandate goes into effect starting on January 1, but many experts within the health insurance industry itself say that implementation could be extremely complicated, and lead to many problems.
The ACA's exchanges are slated to open on October 1, but many states have still yet to find a large number of insurers willing to offer plans on them, and moreover, it's unclear exactly how these marketplaces will work, according to a report from the Associated Press. In addition, a number of studies have shown that the roll-out of the exchanges, and even public awareness of them, have been troubling.
"There will be horror stories, stories of so-called train wrecks," Mark Moody, the president and chief executive officer of government insurance plan issuer WEA Trust, said at a recent panel on the topic, according to the news agency. "It will be a difficult process to get the exchanges started. … I think fundamentally the Affordable Care Act is on the right track but it's going to be a long, slow process."
Many Americans may have difficulties navigating the exchanges when they open later this year, and as a consequence, it might be wise to get their health insurance coverage squared as soon as possible, ahead of the mandate taking effect.