Personal & Financial Strategies

Free Resources for Understanding Health Reform

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The new health care law is a complicated puzzle. Leon Rebodos, of Williams-Manny Insurance Group, points out a few resources for better understanding how this law affects you.

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Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was passed in 2010, there have been 38 major delays or fixes to this health care reform, with no end in sight. For example, just last month the $2,000 single deductible maximum for small groups was removed and signed into law, which was yet another dramatic change.

One thing’s for sure: this law impacts everyone, and yes, that includes you. Employers and employees alike must take action; it’s the law. However, there are financial penalties and/or higher taxes as a consequence for taking a “wrong turn.” So, where does one turn to find credible, easy-to-understand information?

United Benefit Advisors (UBA), the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organization, has released updated versions of several of its most in-demand resource guides, which include all of the recent changes in the health care reform law. The Employer’s Guide to “Play or Pay,” Counting Employees Under PPACA, and The PPACA Employee Guides highlight compliance priorities for employers of all sizes and educational guidelines for employees.

1. The Employer’s Guide to “Play or Pay” white paper features perspectives from UBA benefit experts, data from the UBA Benefit Opinions Survey, and other facts to help guide employers through some of the most commonly asked questions. The paper has been updated to reflect several delayed effective dates and the final regulations on the employer-shared responsibility requirements. Download The Employer’s Guide to “Play or Pay” white paper from http://bit.ly/1chiLEQ.

2. The PPACA Employee Guides are designed to help employees understand the basics of PPACA and answer many of the most commonly asked questions regarding minimum essential coverage, family coverage, health insurance marketplaces and more.

Most employees want to know what the tax penalties are for not carrying insurance, in addition to the household income levels that are required in order to get a free subsidy from the government. This updated guide includes penalty information, Federal Poverty Level (FPL) tables and much more.

Download The PPACA Employee Guides (including supplements A and B) from http://bit.ly/1gymIcQ.

3. UBA’s guide, Counting Employees Under PPACA, helps employers to determine how many employees they have, for several purposes under the PPACA. This guide covers the basics about:
The definitions of full-time employees
How to count part-time employees on a pro-rata basis
How to treat seasonal employees
Who the law considers an “employee”
Counting hours correctly
Determining average hours worked
Penalties that result if a “large employer” doesn’t offer coverage
Download the guide Counting Employees Under PPACA here: http://bit.ly/NPsvyb.

These free, in-depth resources are a great place to begin understanding employer responsibilities under PPACA and to help employees better understand the basics of health care reform. Due to the ever-changing insurance carrier landscape, benefit plan design options and constant regulatory changes, it is always advisable to work with licensed insurance professionals who work with employers and employees like yourselves dealing with the “fine print” of the ever-evolving world of health care reform.

Leon Rebodos is a benefits consultant and vice president with Langan, Haeger, Vincent & Born Insurance Agency in Wheaton, and its partner firm, Williams-Manny Insurance Group, based in Rockford.

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