October 1st Deadline for Employee Communications on Healthcare Reform: Yes, for YOU Too!
The healthcare landscape is quickly changing, and even small businesses (such as YOUR practice or clinic) have some obligations to fulfill starting sooner than you may have known! Even if you do NOT provide any type of health coverage for your employees, you still are obligated to make this communication available.
On or by October 1st (yes, a few weeks away) ALL employers will need to provide information to their employees about the public health insurance exchanges. (Don’t know what an “exchange” is? Then you have homework to do!) Fortunately the government has provided “model notices” for us to use:
Model notice: New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage (for employers that offer a health plan) ~U.S. Department of Labor
Model notice: New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage (for employers that do NOT offer a health plan) ~U.S. Department of Labor
This new website should be used along with the HealthCare.gov website, the primary place to get information for employees as well as employers. Beginning Oct. 1, 2013, your employees will be able to research private health insurance options through the Health Insurance Marketplace (a portal for state-specific health care exchanges).
It’s likely that your practice or clinic has 99 or less employees, so the Small Business Health Options Program (the SHOP Marketplace) will be the site for you to explore. The changes sound complex, but there is good news for everyone: 1) Individuals may be eligible for lower costs on their monthly premiums, and 2) self-employed individuals and small businesses may be eligible for tax credits to help with the costs of health coverage.
Already have healthcare for the team? Then it is likely that your health insurance company will/can guide you through this process. But don’t take it for granted…YOU are still the one obligated to see that it happens, and soon!