A new poll released by the Wall Street Journal shines a light on the fact that most Americans are in the dark when it comes to Obamacare. Nearly 70% of the respondents voiced that they were still unfamiliar with the health care measures as uncertainty over the law continues.
Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, a human resources outsourcing company, explains that many companies are also having trouble keeping up with all the up to the minute changes and new requirements. “Many human resource departments are up to their ears in paperwork, ensuring they are following proper protocol,” says Wilson. “As far as impending changes go, a lot is still up in the air for a large percentage of businesses; they have not begun to properly prepare.”
Below are five health care changes to plan for in 2014:
1. Individual Mandate: Individuals will be required to have a minimum level of health insurance or face a penalty. This applies to everyone except those who have income below the federal income tax filing threshold, are incarcerated, have a religious exemption, are a member of an Indian tribe, or are not legally present in the U.S. Beginning in 2014, the penalty is the greater of $95 per person or 1% of household income over the filing threshold, and increases each subsequent year following.
2. Tax Credit Maximum Increase: Starting in 2014, the health care tax credit maximum will increase from 35% to 50% for small businesses with less than 25 employees and average annual wages less than $50,000.
3. State Insurance Exchanges: Insurance exchanges will be open to individuals and small employers (those with fewer than 101 employees). The exchange program allows for subsidies towards insurance for low-wage employees. Lower-income individuals (133-400% of federal poverty level) will be able to purchase coverage through an exchange.
4. New Maximums: New and non-grandfathered plans will be subject to a deductible maximum of $2,000 per individual and $4,000 per family, out-of-pocket maximums the same as HSA-compatible plans, and coverage of routine medical costs of clinical trial patients.
5. Industry Tax and Temporary Reinsurance: The health insurance industry tax and temporary reinsurance program will begin, costing $63 per person including dependents. The costs are expected to be passed on to employers through increased premiums. The reinsurance program was designed to help offset risk for high cost enrollees in the individual market.