Health Care Reform; Are You Ready?

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September 12, 2013 by Lisa Brammer

A couple weeks ago, we talked about the lack of understanding by most adults of the ins and outs of health insurance and how confusing it’s going to be for everyone as we all try to muddle our way through health care reform. Well, one of the big milestones is approaching—the opening of the Health Insurance Marketplace on October 1st, and I’m wondering, are you ready?

If you are anything like some of my friends, right now you have a puzzled look on your face and are wondering what the heck I’m talking about. You see, I asked some of my friends if they knew when the Health Insurance Marketplace was scheduled to open and a few looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. After a quick explanation, the overwhelming response by those who knew nothing about it was that they had health insurance through their employer—or on their own—so ignored any information that came their way.

It seems to me that many people are thinking the Marketplace is only for people who have no insurance. And while it is true the Marketplace is for people without insurance, others who already have insurance may benefit as well.

If you are a person or know someone that is uninsured, underinsured, or an individual with insurance that seems unaffordable because of the premiums, copays, deductibles, etc. you might want to get more information regarding the Marketplace. I’m sure you’ll want to find out if you are eligible for those health care tax credits—it might really make a difference for you.

Luckily, here in Walworth County, we have a couple of town hall meetings coming up to educate people on the Marketplace—and if you read this blog regularly, you know how we feel about educating people! Check out the links below to see if any of these dates/times work for you.

If you are looking for information and don’t live in Walworth County, check your local papers for informational meetings closer to home or check out these online webinars put out by CMS (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services) & Health and Human Services. They have webinars for both individuals and small businesses looking for information.

If you want, you can get information directly from the Marketplace website. Check it out.

The Marketplace website also has information for businesses. Whether you are a small business or an employer of over 50 employees, the Marketplace website has valuable material regarding the new regulations and how they pertain to you.

I think it is important for me to tell you that one of the friends I spoke with earlier is an owner of a small business. She was under the impression that since her business is small and she is not required to offer her employees health insurance she would not be required to notify her employees about the Health Insurance Marketplace. After reviewing the information provided below, she found that indeed she did have to provide a Notice to her employees by October 1st if she wanted to avoid being fined. Please check out the link below to get information for your small business—and hey, the health care tax credits aren’t just for individuals—be sure to check to see if your business will qualify for health care tax credits in 2014.

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