HEALTH CARE REFORM - HOW WILL IT IMPACT SMALL BUSINESS
Everywhere you turn, people are talking about ' ObamaCare' and its impact on them. There is a great deal of misunderstanding in the marketplace regarding this huge paradigm shift as it relates to how individuals will access health insurance in the future. While there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding specific processes, there is some information that we can share with our members.
First and foremost, every citizen in the United States will have access to health insurance effective January 1, 2014. The process for accessing that insurance and selecting your plan will begin October 1, 2013. The Amherst Chamber staff is currently participating in extensive training so we will be well informed and available to assist our members and their employees through this difficult process.
There is a cost for all of the health insurance plans. Unfortunately, many people are under the misconception that health insurance will be free and that is not true. Your cost will be determined by your 2012 taxable income as recorded on your tax return. A subsidy will be available based on that income. Some people will not be eligible for any subsidy.
Health Insurance will revolve around Health Care Exchanges. Each state is required to either select the Federal Essential Benefits package or create their own. New York State has created an Essential Benefits package with all of the benefits of the Federal Exchange and some additional coverages. The plans, referred to as the Metal Plans, have a bronze, silver, gold and platinum level. Additionally, there is a lower cost, lower benefit catastrophic plan. Rates are starting to circulate and early estimates are reflecting some significant increases in cost. While lower earners will see costs stabilize because of the subsidy, middle and high income earners could face premium increases. One benefit of the new plans, however, is that a married couple with no dependents can select individual plans rather than be required to take and pay for a family plan.
Employers with less than 50 full time employees are not required to provide health insurance for their employees. Those employees will go to the marketplace to select their insurance plan. The Amherst Chamber of Commerce will serve as a Trusted Advisor for employers and employees and assist in the application process.
There are many changes coming our way - some good/some not so good. We will continue to communicate with you as all aspects of the new law are solidified. Additionally, we will host seminars and workshops to walk you and your employees through the process. October 1 is the go live date and we will be ready to go. Feel free to reach out to me, firstname.lastname@example.org or our Insurance Specialist Angela at email@example.com with specific questions.