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Avoiding Obamacare: How to Avoid the Penalty Tax While Remaining Covered September 23, 2013

Posted by QUOTEBROKER in ACA, Aetna, California Health Insurance, Employee Benefits, Group Health Insurance, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance, Health Insurance 101, Individual Health Insurance, Insurance Quotes, Obamacare, QuoteBroker, Section 125, small group.
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Obamacare Open Enrollment starts October 1- just a few days from now. For many people, that day has been long anticipated as a day marking the enrollment in improved plan designs and premium subsidy payments from the government.  Others who may not be so positively affected by the changes are indifferent or even actively against health care reform.  Do you want to avoid new Obamacare compliant health plans? Here are a few ways to stay out of the new plan designs- some short term, some long term:

For Individuals

  • Stay on your grandfathered plan– the easiest way to avoid Obamacare and its changes is to already be enrolled on a grandfathered plan.   If you have been on your plan for the last several years without interruption or changes, there’s a good chance you may be grandfathered.  Check with your carrier or your agent to see if your plan qualifies.  However, if your carrier is leaving the market entirely, like Aetna in California, your plan is grandfathered but will be terminated when they do exit.
  • Enroll in your employer-sponsored group plan– Check with your HR coordinator at work to see if there is a group health insurance option for you to enroll in. Depending on the size of your group, these plans may be only slightly affected or even unchanged by Obamacare.  Many group Open Enrollment periods are in the 4th quarter, so the timing may be just right to sign up.
  • Sign up now with a carrier not participating in the exchange-  In California, all non-grandfathered plans offered by carriers participating in the exchange will be terminated on 12/31/13.  However, California does have one non-participating carrier that is still currently accepting applications and will cover you throughout 2014- CIGNA.   If you sign up for a plan with CIGNA in the 4th quarter of 2013, you can avoid the vast majority of the mandated Obamacare changes for 12 months.  While each case is unique, this is our recommended option for those who do not want to participate in the CoveredCA health care exchange or in ACA-compliant but do want to continue their coverage and also not be penalized with an additional fee on their taxes for not having insurance.

For Small Businesses and their Administrators

  • Participate in Early Renewal– Most small group health plans will undergo the Obamacare changes on their 2014 renewal date.  This means that if you renew 1/1/14, your changes will be in effect for the entirely of 2014.  If your renewal is 7/1/2014, then for the first half of the year you will keep your plan and the second half of the year you will have an ACA-compliant plan with all of the Obamacare-mandated changes.  Many carriers will allow you to renew your plan early, in the 4th quarter of 2013.  This will move your 2014 renewal to the corresponding month in 2014, staving off Obamacare changes until then.  While every case is different, groups larger than 10 lives will likely benefit from this early renewal option, for a variety of technical reasons which can be explained during a 1 on 1 consultation– just ask!
  • Drop coverage entirely, send employees to the exchanges– Many small businesses are exploring the option of dropping their group coverage entirely and allowing their employees to shop the market on their own, taking advantage of the government exchanges and subsidies.  This is a decision that should not be made lightly, as the repercussions for employer and employee alike can be widespread and lasting.  Because each small group case is so unique, a 1 on 1 needs evaluation is the recommended course of action if you are even considering this route.

For more detailed information specific to your unique case, contact Quotebroker today. A licensed specialist will respond to your inquiry same-day. 


Big news for employers- ACA’s “Employer Mandate” implementation delayed until 2015 July 2, 2013

Posted by QUOTEBROKER in Insurance Quotes.
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Big news just released by the Obama administration. The “Employer Mandate”, the provision of the ACA which requires employers with 50+ employees to offer coverage, has been delayed until 2015. While the vast majority of businesses larger than 50 employees already offer coverage, this is going to greatly affect those that do not.

For employers, this is good news. With the penalty for not providing coverage removed, employers who had implemented hiring freezes or just merely fretted over employee counts approaching 50- the point at which penalties can apply for not providing coverage- can relax for another year. However, the employer mandate was merely delayed, not eliminated entirely, so it would be wise to take advantage of the delay to properly implement and employee benefits program for 2015.

For employees of groups not offering insurance, this is a blow. However due to the other provisions of the ACA, their misfortune is not as dire. Starting October 1, 2013, these employees can now enter the individual exchange. Depending on their income, they may be eligible for a subsidy from the government to help pay their monthly premiums or even their medical costs.

As with everything involving the ACA, some individuals will benefit and others will suffer.  Employers who would still like to provide benefits are free to do so.  Employee benefits, and especially health insurance, are a key figure in attracting the best and brightest employees- and retaining them.  Employers who would not like to pay for employee benefits, but would still like to assist their employees in obtaining quality healthcare are encouraged to send their employees to the applicable government exchange, eligibility for which can be determined at http://www.quotebroker.com or by calling 800-783-0802.  If eligible, the government subsidy obtained through the exchange could go a long way toward filling or even closing the gap left by not providing employer sponsored health care.

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