Healthcare Reform and Group Health PlansPosted by mgwhite
This article was create by Vista Health Solutions, a company dedicated to providing health insurance quotes and coverage.
What HR professionals should know about health care reform and group health plans
Health insurance can be very expensive especially when buying an individual plan. That is why most people purchase group health insurance through their employer if they can. As changes in healthcare start to take effect, we need to be familiar how these changes can affect group health plans and the employees who rely on them for health coverage.
Provisions Available Now. Some provisions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) are already being implemented. Being in Human Resources, you should be aware of these changes such as:
- Children’s health insurance cannot be cancelled because of pre-existing conditions.
- Health insurers are prohibited from terminating an individual’s health coverage for health reasons.
- Imposing annual and lifetime coverage limits are no longer allowed. Policies that limit coverage to higher-wage employees are also prohibited.
- Children up to 26 years old can remain covered as dependents under their parents’ policies.
These are just the initial changes the PPACA brings. More provisions will be implemented in the coming years. Various government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services, state health insurance commissions, Food and Drug Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service are tasked to develop a plan to carry out the changes.
Small business health care tax credit. With these tax credits, small businesses and small tax-exempt organizations will find it easier to provide health insurance to their employees or maintain already existing health coverage.
Qualified organizations must have 25 or fewer full-time employees; employees must have annual average income of less than $50,000; and employers must pay at least 50 percent of the premiums.
Early retirement program. Early retirees age 55 or older who are not eligible for Medicare can still maintain coverage through the temporary Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. The PPACA provides $5 billion to help fund the program which enables employers to save on healthcare costs and offer premium relief to their employees and their families. The program will end on Jan. 1, 2014, when state-run exchanges provide other coverage options.
Grandfathered insurance plans. Grandfathering health plans allowed some policy holders to keep the health insurance plans they already have.
High-risk pools. The PPACA provides a $5 billion fund for high-risk pools, which offer health coverage to individuals who may have difficulties buying a health plan because of pre-existing conditions.
Some provisions of the Affordable Care Act will be implemented in the coming years. Small businesses need to be aware of these changes and how they will take effect.
Implementation of the bill shall be done in several different phases. Businesses must take the initiative to educate themselves and voice their concerns through the proper channels to help develop a plan of implementation.
Implementing changes is going to be a long and grinding process of helping state and federal government polishing regulations. The process does not end here, this is definitely a dynamic and an interactive undertaking as healthcare strives to move forward. We should start thinking about these issues to prepare ourselves for 2014, when changes start to take effect.