Health Care Act: Navigating Obamacare
When it comes to PPACA, it's not a time to panic, but a time to act. Your insurance broker will (or should) take great care to ensure that your policy meets the minimum standards set forth by PPACA. Education is one of the most important aspects of compliance, and with Congress tweaking various elements of the law, it becomes more critical to stay abreast of any changes via your broker, the PIA or your local affiliate chapter.
There is a lot to learn regarding PPACA, and you won't become an expert in one sitting. Jim Kyger, VP of human resources and labor policy for PIA, has provided a top 10 list of issues printers need to be aware of in regards to PPACA implementation. The full list is available on the PIA Website. Here are some of the highlights:
- Printers must either offer affordable health insurance or send employees to the health insurance exchange, which will be set up in October. Not offering coverage will be more costly, in the long run, and could make retention/recruiting of employees more difficult.
- Companies with up to 25 full-time employees may be eligible for a tax credit for offering insurance. Average employee salaries (excluding ownership/family) must be under $50,000 and the company must pay for half of the premium of single coverage. This tax credit goes away this year, but if you didn't take it previously, consult your accountant.
- For plan years that begin on or after Sept. 23, 2012, the plan must provide a summary of benefits and coverage to all health plan enrollees/ applicants. And you must provide 60 days notice of material modifications that impact the summary of benefits and coverage.
Kyger, for one, holds an optimistic view toward the readiness of printers in regard to coverage. Most of the companies he's spoken with say that their current plan meets minimum value and essential coverage. Very few printers in the 50-plus employee range plan on dropping coverage. However, there are unintended and somewhat predictable consequences. Some health insurance carriers are seeking double-digit rate increases, according to Kyger, noting that Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Rhode Island proposed an average increase of 18 percent for individuals and 15 percent for small groups.