As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Healthcare Reform, the health insurance landscape is changing. As of January 1, 2014, the main changes are:
- Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny health coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
- All employers with at least 50 employees must provide valuable and affordable health insurance, or pay a penalty.
- All individuals will be required to have health insurance coverage that meets federal standards as of January 1, 2014.
As of October 1, 2013, “Health Insurance Marketplaces”, sometimes called “exchanges” will help individuals who do not have health insurance through their employers find, compare and buy coverage that meets their needs and budgets. The exchanges also provide tax credits and/or subsidies to individuals who earn below a specified minimum household income, to help reduce the cost of health coverage obtained through the exchanges.
What does this mean for USF faculty and staff?
USF offers faculty and staff the opportunity to enroll in the university’s health benefits if they regularly work 30 hours or more a week. University–sponsored medical plans comply with all Health Care Reform requirements. As long as you are enrolled in, or eligible for, a USF medical plan, your coverage will meet (or exceed) the mandated affordability and coverage requirements. Since the university’s medical plans meet Healthcare Reform requirements, it is unlikely you will receive any kind of financial help (subsidy) from the government to pay for any coverage you may purchase from a public exchange.
If, however, you are not eligible for USF benefit plan coverage (for example, if you work less than 30 hours a week, work seasonally or as a temporary employee) and do not have coverage through a spouse or parent, you may choose to obtain this coverage through a healthcare exchange. Depending on your household income, you may also be eligible for a federal tax credit and/or subsidy.
The “New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage” published on the USF Benefits Compliance website provides you with information on the insurance marketplaces. Covered California is the health insurance marketplace to serve you. You may visit the Covered California website: www.coveredca.com to review information, get your questions answered, apply for coverage, compare plans and enroll. You may also call Covered California at 1-800-300-1506.
You can also find out more about the new insurance marketplaces at www.healthcare.gov