In part 1 of our 3-part Obamacare blog series , we reviewed provisions of the act that are already in effect and looked ahead to what small business owners can expect in January, 2014. Now we turn our focus to the Health Insurance Marketplace . You can also read Part 3 of this series on tax credits .
Health Insurance Marketplace
The federal government has launched a Health Insurance Marketplace where small businesses can shop for private group health insurance. The marketplace will essentially give small businesses the same buying power as big businesses, enabling them to get better coverage options at lower prices. Businesses and individuals alike will be able to more easily evaluate health coverage options because they will be broken down into 4 categories ranging from minimal to maximum coverage levels. Employers can select which one of the 4 categories they want to offer to employees and then employees can shop insurance providers within that category. You can start shopping today, but open enrollment begins October 1, 2013 with coverage becoming effective in January 2014. The U.S. Department of Labor offers up a great list of seven things your employees can do to get ready NOW .
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities , states intending to create a State-based Exchange ( SBE ) had until December 14, 2012 to submit their proposals. States intending to create a Partnership Exchange had until February 15, 2013. As of December 17, 2012, 17 states plus Washington, DC submitted proposals to create their own SBE and another 7 states are pursuing a Partnership Exchange. The remaining 26 states have declined to participate in the creation of a SBE or Partnership Exchange and will instead rely on the Federally-facilitated Exchange ( FFE ).
UPDATE : In a New York Times article published April 1, 2013, the Obama administration announced that it will be unable to meet the original timeline laid out by the ACA for making multiple health insurance options available to employees of small businesses (instead, the health insurance exchange will be able to offer employers only a single choice of health insurance coverage for their employees). Administration officials told the public that the ability to offer multiple coverage options will be pushed out to 2015 in the 33 states where the federal government will be running the health exchange. These 33 states are comprised of the 26 states that declined to participate plus the 7 states that will have a Partnership Exchange that will be run in part by the federal government. To make it fair to all 50 states, the deadline for the participating states will also be pushed back to 2015, although some states (including California and Connecticut) are already on track to meet the original 2014 deadline.
In this post, we’ve covered:
- What the Healthcare Insurance Marketplace is
- Information for small business employees
- Updates to the original Healthcare Insurance Marketplace timeline
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this blog series. Next up, we’ll focus on small business tax credits available under the Affordable Care Act.
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