Friday, August 30, 2013




Notices about the health insurance exchanges (Marketplaces) have to be given to current workers no later than Oct. 1, 2013. Starting Oct. 1, the notices have to be given to new workers on the day they are hired.  
The notices must:

1. tell workers about exchanges (Marketplaces), including a description of the services provided and how they can contact exchanges (Marketplaces);

2. let workers know they may be eligible for a premium tax credit if the employer plan’s does not cover at least 60% of the total allowed cost of benefits, and the worker buys a qualified health plan through an exchange (Marketplace);
3. explain that if the worker buys a qualified health plan through an exchange (Marketplace), he or she may lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefit plan the employer offers, and that all or part of the contribution may be excluded from income for federal tax purposes.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Delay in Implementation Will Affect Very Few

Media coverage of a delay in implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) limit on out-of-pocket insurance costs for consumers was extensive last week. As of 2014, the ACA sets an annual cap on out-of-pocket costs for an individual at $6,350 and $12,700 for a family. But the U.S. Department of Labor outlined in February a one-year limited transition period for implementation of the requirement. Coming in a summer of renewed political battles over the ACA and a widely covered delay in implementation of the ACA’s employer mandate, the delay was widely covered just last week as a new development adversely affecting many consumers. However, the decision to delay is six months old and it has limited applicability. The one-year transition period does not change the out-of-pocket limits for major medical plans subject to the regulatory requirements in 2014. The transition only applies to customers who have medical benefits administered with one carrier and pharmacy benefits administered with a different company.

Friday, August 2, 2013


LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- The White House has approved a deal that will exempt members of Congress and their staff from some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Politico reported late Thursday. Under the law, popularly referred to as Obamacare, lawmakers and their aides were required to source health insurance "created" by the law or offered through one of its exchanges, and without the subsidies they currently enjoy, the members of Congress would have faced thousands of dollars in additional premium payments each year, the report said. However, the Office of Personnel Management now plans to rule that the government can continue to make a contribution to the health-care premiums of the lawmakers and their staff, it said, citing unnamed congressional sources and a White House official.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Insurance Commissioner Approves Obamacare Premium Rates

ATLANTA – Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens announced Thursday that he approved the premiums submitted by five health insurers for inclusion in the state’s federally run insurance exchange, even though he said they were too high.

He had sought an emergency extension on Wednesday’s deadline from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, but she refused to grant it.

“Yesterday, after not receiving a response to my request for a 30-day delay from the secretary of Health and Human Services, I was left with no viable option but to accept the filings for the federally facilitated Georgia exchange. Although not surprised, I am disappointed in the unresponsiveness of the Obama administration,” said Hudgens, a Republican who was elected on a platform opposing the federal health reform law known as Obamacare.

The premiums and plans must be approved by both the state and federal regulators. Sebelius has until September to give her approval.

At the 11th hour, Aetna announced that it and its newly acquired subsidiary, Coventry Health Care, would not participate in Georgia’s exchange.

“This is not a step that we take lightly,” said Aetna spokesman Walter Cherniak. “We believe it is critical that our plans not only be competitive, but also financially viable, allowing Aetna and Coventry to meet the long-term needs of the exchanges in which we choose to participate.”

Both companies will continue to sell individual health insurance outside of the exchanges and through their agents. However, people with income low enough to qualify for taxpayer premium subsidies can only get them if they purchase through an exchange.

The withdrawal means residents in some parts of the state will have limited options in the exchange.