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On this, the second anniverary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, it’s an appropriate time to to look at the impact of health care reform so far, as well as what’s coming down the road. Fortunately, Kaiser Health News has done the heavy lifting for us.
“A Consumer Guide To Health Reform Law” offers a wide-ranging FAQ about ACA provisions past, present and future. We’ll highlight a couple questions here pertaining to employer-based health plans, but check out the complete article for additional information about other aspects of the law.
I get my health coverage at work and I’d like to keep my current plan. Will I be able to do that? How will my plan be affected by the health law? If you get insurance through your job, it is likely to stay that way. But, just as before the law was passed, your employer is not obligated to keep the current plan and may change premiums, deductibles, co-pays and network coverage.
You may have seen some law-related changes already. For example, most plans now ban lifetime coverage limits and include a guarantee that an adult child up to age 26 who can’t get health insurance at a job can stay on her parents’ health plan.
I own a small business. Will I have to buy health insurance for my workers? No employer is required to provide insurance. But starting in 2014, businesses with 50 or more employees that don’t provide health care coverage and have at least one full-time worker who receives subsidized coverage in the health insurance exchange will have to pay a fee of up to $2,000 per full-time employee. The firm’s first 30 workers would be excluded from the fee.
However, if you have a firm with 50 or fewer people you won’t face any penalties.
In addition, if you own a small business, the health law offers a tax credit to help cover the cost. Employers with 25 or fewer full-time workers who earn an average yearly salary of $50,000 or less today can get tax credits of up 35 percent of the cost of premiums. The credit increases to 50 percent in 2014.