Monday, September 30, 2013

ObamaCare’s Kickoff on Oct. 1: ‘Much Ado About Nothing?’

No matter what happens Tuesday when the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges go live, experts say it will be too early to call the marketplaces a failure or success.

“October 1 is much ado about nothing,” says Larry Kocot, visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Some may not want to write a check [in October] so they may wait. The real crunch time happens toward the end of the enrollment period, prior to benefits starting.”

Tuesday kicks off open enrollment season on the health-insurance marketplaces which runs through March 31, 2014. Uninsured Americans, along with those looking for different coverage options, can start shopping on the state and federally-run exchanges for a policy, but any purchased plans won’t kick in until Jan. 1 - a major reason why enrollment numbers likely won’t be impressive early on in the launch, says Kocot.

He says December will likely be the month to watch regarding health-care enrollment. Under the ACA, every individual in the U.S. has to have insurance by March 31, 2014, or face a penalty of $95 a year, or 1% of their annual income - whichever is higher.

Read more HERE

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mandate delay will cost $12 billion, affect 1 million workers

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama's decision to delay implementation of part of his healthcare reform law will cost $12 billion and leave a million fewer Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance in 2014, congressional researchers said Tuesday.

The report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is the first authoritative estimate of the human and fiscal cost from the administration's unexpected one-year delay announced July 2 of the employer mandate - a requirement for larger businesses to provide health coverage for their workers or pay a penalty.

The analysts said the delay will add to the cost of "Obamacare's" insurance-coverage provisions over the next 10 years. Penalties paid by employers would be lower and more individuals who otherwise might have had employer coverage will need federal insurance subsidies.

View the full article here:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Updated HIPPA rules go into effect Monday

Health carriers are supposed to start complying with updated HIPAA privacy rules Monday.
The new privacy regulations -- based on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 -- officially took effect March 26, but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gave health insurers and health care providers six months to meet the new privacy and data security standards.

Agents and other "business associates" of health insurers will have up to a year to shift to contracts that reflect the new rules.

To help insurers and agents comply with notice requirements in the new rules, the Office for Civil Rights at HHS has developed a collection of model privacy rights notices for health plans.
The collection includes a booklet version, a version that combines a quick summary with the full version, and a text-only version.

A health insurer must make its notice available to any person who asks for it, officials said.
A covered entity also must post the notice on any website it maintains that provides information about its customer services or benefits, officials said.

View the article HERE

Myth vs. Fact #1

Myth vs. Fact- Myth #1: All Businesses Will Be Required to Provide Health Insurance to All of Their Employees

As a business owner, it’s important to understand how the Affordable Care Act can affect your business. However, with so many misconceptions about how the Affordable Care Act works, this can be difficult. To clarify the myths versus facts, we’re launching a new blog series called “Myth vs. Fact: The Affordable Care Act and Small Business”.
This blog covers one of the most common myths we’ve seen out there: All businesses will be required to provide health insurance to all of their employees.

Fact: Employers are not required to provide coverage to their employees under the Affordable Care Act. However, starting in 2014, some businesses that do not offer health coverage to their full-time employees may be subject to a shared responsibility payment under the health care law.

How do I know if I may be subject to an Employer Shared Responsibility Payment?

Businesses with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent (FTE) employees that do not offer affordable health insurance that provides a minimum level of coverage to their full-time employees (and dependent children under the age of 26 starting in 2015) may be subject to a shared responsibility payment if at least one of their full-time employees receives a premium tax credit in an Affordable Insurance Exchange, or Marketplace. For the purposes of these provisions, a full-time employee is one who is employed an average of at least 30 hours per week.
Continue reading HERE

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Business Owners May Face $100-Per-Day Penalty Under ObamaCare

Business Owners May Face $100-Per-Day Penalty Under ObamaCare

Small business owners who thought they were off the hook for ObamaCare regulations until 2015 may be in for an expensive wake-up call next month.
Beginning Oct. 1, any business with at least one employee and $500,000 in annual revenue must notify all employees by letter about the Affordable Care Act’s health-care exchanges, or face up to a $100-per-day fine. The requirement applies to any business regulated under the Fair Labor Standards Act, regardless of size. Going forward, letters are to be distributed to any new hires within 14 days of their starting date, according to the Department of Labor.
Earlier this summer, the employer mandate, which states that every business with at least 50 or more full-time employees must offer workers acceptable coverage or face a $2,000 penalty per-worker, per-year, was pushed back until 2015. But the Oct. 1 employee-notification deadline stands. Keith McMurdy, partner at FOX Rothschild LLP, says the $100 per-day fine has been “unfortunately overlooked” by many small businesses, and the dollar amount on the penalty comes from the general per-day penalty under the ACA.

Read more: