In order to meet the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) new COBRA Qualifying Event Notice, BASIC will be updating our COBRA system in September 2013. The new notice has an additional paragraph to inform qualified beneficiaries of the health insurance marketplace.
The state-based health insurance marketplaces (or “Exchanges”) under the ACA will begin open enrollment in October 2013 for health insurance coverage starting as early as January 1, 2014. Beginning in 2014, when an employee or dependent loses coverage under an employer-sponsored health plan they will have the opportunity to either elect COBRA or purchase health coverage from the Exchange (in which certain individuals may be eligible for tax credits). Since the Exchanges won’t be operational until October 2013, employer groups do not want to confuse qualified beneficiaries by informing them about Exchanges that may not currently exist or stating they may obtain individual coverage without pre-existing condition limitations (as a recent Department of Labor notice suggests).
Remember the COBRA law has not been changed or modified due to the ACA. COBRA will remain a viable option as implementation of the new Exchanges could turn out to be very challenging for employers and consumers. Many people have expressed their concerns that not all states will have fully functional exchanges by January 1, 2014.
The advantage of COBRA coverage will be that many individuals undergoing treatment at the time of the COBRA qualifying event will want to continue treatment with the same healthcare provider. However, many providers may not wish to participate or be available within the health Exchange network. Also many employers offer nationwide coverage through their employer-based health plan which may be an advantage over the local coverage through an Exchange.
BASIC handles all the regulations and administration time lines from set up to premium collection allowing you to focus on your active employees.
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