Triage Affordable Care Act Questions!

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You can’t turn on a television or radio without hearing something about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) these days.  With all the information being shared, it’s difficult to sort through it all.  So in an effort to clear up some confusion here are some answers… 

Q: Are all employers required to offer health insurance coverage to their employees?

A: No. The ACA does not require any employers to offer health insurance coverage to their employees.  However, employers with 50 or more full-time employee equivalents will be subject to penalties if they do not offer health insurance coverage at all or if they offer health insurance coverage that is not affordable or adequate and their employees buy insurance through the state marketplace and qualify for financial assistance.  This requirement was originally supposed to begin on January 1, 2014, but it has been pushed back to January 1, 2015.

Q: I can’t get through to www.HealthCare.gov to purchase insurance through the marketplace, what should I do?

A: We know that the technical difficulties with the website are frustrating.  However, the good news is that while we are waiting for those glitches to be fixed, there are three other ways that you can shop for, and purchase insurance.  For more information visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/how-do-i-apply-for-marketplace-coverage/

Q: I’m very confused by all the talk about being able to keep my old health insurance plan if I want to…why might this be a bad thing?

A: The ACA set some minimum standards for health insurance policies being sold in the marketplaces.  For example, they have to cover essential health benefits, which are 10 categories of benefits like emergency services and prescription drugs.  As a result, some health insurance companies choose not to offer plans in 2014 and beyond that don’t meet those standards even outside of the Marketplaces.  President Obama has recently changed that rule saying that if you were happy with your old policy, you can at least keep it through 2014.  However, please be aware that your old policy may not have many of the protections we have discussed previously on this blog.  Read more about the President’s response here:   http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/11/14/president-obama-announces-new-steps-help-americans-receiving-insurance-cancellation-

Q: When I am shopping for a new plan, are there certain things I should be on the lookout for as a cancer survivor?
A: While the ACA made shopping for health insurance a bit easier, it can still be challenging to find the right plan for you.  Several advocacy organizations got together and created this checklist to help you during your shopping process: http://www.cancerinsurancechecklist.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/cancer_insurance_checklist.pdf

Do you have questions about the ACA?  Feel free to leave a comment below or via Twitter or Facebook and we will do our best to address them.  You may also want to consider attending an upcoming event near you! 

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