LAKELAND – Major changes are ahead for health care insurance, as employers and citizens prepare to comply with the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
Most aspects of the health care reform law take effect in 2014, but deadlines for complying with some requirements begin this fall.
|Wendy McCoy, human resources director, answers questions during a presentation about the new Affordable Care Act.|
Full-time clergy appointed by the bishop and conference employees will see little change, as the Florida Conference United Healthcare plan meets federal requirements for affordability and exceeds the mandated minimum benefits, said Wendy McCoy, director of Human Resources & Benefits. The plan’s annual open enrollment period is scheduled this year for Nov. 4-12.
Local churches, however, face new challenges. Open enrollment for purchasing plans through the act’s new Health Insurance Marketplaces, also called “exchanges,” begins Oct. 1, and federal law mandates that all employers distribute a notice to full- and part-time employees describing those options by that date, even if churches do not offer health insurance and are not required to under the new law.
“It’s very complicated; it’s very complex,” McCoy said Wednesday in a live video webcast called “Implementing the Affordable Care Act: A How-to Guide for the Local Church.”
The archived webcast, which can be viewed here, also discusses the circumstances that require a church to provide health insurance to lay workers – generally, if there are 50 or more full-time employees. In addition, the webcast lists options for purchasing small group plans through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) and tax credits that may be available to individuals and churches.
Another live webcast will be offered at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24. Details about the webcast will be announced later.
Additional information and resources are available at www.flumc.org/hr or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Susan Green is the managing editor of Florida Conference Connection.