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What’s Next with Health Care Reform

By now, most people know that the majority of the changes created by Health Care Reform are set to take place in 2014. Additionally, most employers understand that the tax penalties that were set to take place in 2014 have been delayed until 2015.

 What Now…

Currently, the last minute push is on for many small groups to renew their plans by December 1, 2013. The reason for this is that plans that are in place by December 1, 2013 do not need to cover most of the key essential health care benefits required of plans that renew on or after January 1, 2014. The cost of covering these items is one of the factors which is expected to increase the cost of coverage. Insurance carriers are allowing employers who like their current plans to renew early at lower than expected premium increases.

What’s Next …

All employers need to be aware that health care reform has created taxes on elements within each insurance policy. It is difficult to determine the exact cost. However, it is estimated that each employer will see a tax increase of between 5% to 6% of their insurance premium. This tax will begin in January of 2014 and will, most likely, be listed as a line item expense on your monthly insurance bill if your plan was in force before January 1, 2014. If your plan renews on or after January 1, 2014, you will want to check with your insurance carrier to determine if these taxes have been included in the proposal.

Additionally, waiting periods are limited to 90 days for all employers who offer health insurance. There is an exception for those employers who employ variable hour employees. Most employers who have a current waiting period defined as the first of the month following 90 days are changing theirs to be the first of the month following 60 days as their plans renew in 2014.

Large employers with more than 200 full time employees should be aware that beginning in 2015, they will be responsible to automatically enroll employees into their health plan unless the employee has opted out. As you prepare for 2015, you will want to be sure that you have the systems in place to handle these requirements.

It is important to note that there are current initiatives in place to try and change many aspects of health care reform. But for now, it is in everyone’s best interest to plan with the rules currently in place.

SERPEO can help!

Employers will need to create or utilize systems that help them comply with the complexities of health care reform. SERPEO utilizes systems that will continue to adapt to the changing requirements of health care reform. We have professional staff that keeps abreast of the latest changes in health care reform and we will keep you compliant.

As always, if you have any questions call Dan Jacey, SPHR at 248.205.7208.


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