The Affordable Care Act In Depth

K&J – 051613 – Burnham Benefit Advisors – Ian Coryea speaks on Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act is turning out not to be so affordable..  Not only according to republicans, but also according to some of the authors of the legislation. And in order to navigate through the extremely complex new regulations, we’re going to need a consultant, just to help us understand all of the implications… That’s exactly who we found at a recent Town of Harrietstown Work-session where we hear from an expert on the ins and outs of health care reform which in most cases takes effect January 1st, 2014..  Burnham consults on many different levels of health care ranging from working with individuals to help them understand their options (A free service by the way) to consulting for over 43 municipalities including Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties, Lake Placid, and where we caught up with them – The Town of Harrietstown…

If you’re an employee in a company with under 50, and you have a flexible spending account, The maximum you can contribute is $2,500 through payroll deduction. The employer can contribute more but you can’t deduct more than the $2,500.. In addition, All Employers will be required to notify their employees of a new Health Care Exchange in New YorkState.. They’ll have to make you aware that there’s a new access point for health insurance..

If you’re a group under 25 employees and your average wages are less than $50,000 and you pay more than half of the premiums, you’ll be eligible for a tax credit until 2016. Clearly a talking point for the authors of the program as very few employers will fall into this category..  And as for the Health Care Exchanges, you may find an inexpensive program but it may not apply to our region as the choices are not as plentiful in the North Country.. And so what about pre-existing conditions, why are prices going to go up?

It seems difficult to understand how citizens of the united states can be forced to do anything they don’t want to and so I asked Ian at this point to clarify for us how the government can require us to pay for health care, or penalize us for that matter if we don’t participate..

But wait, there’s more…. Not only do you have to pay a penalty if you don’t participate, which congress has conveniently called a health care tax… There’s also a huge list of increases simply in the form of additional government taxes which will no doubt increase your premiums over and above the other anticipated increases..

Coryea says It’s too early to tell but using mid year increases as a barometer, some groups renewing in June are seeing 16% increases in premiums, and by year end, your premiums may exceed 20%

Just to clarify – If your premium is say $667 per month and you multiply by 12, you’ll get just over $8,000 and those are basic insurance premiums for a single payer.. if you go over $10,200 annually, employers will be subject to a tax as high as 40% of the premium. Coryea says you could reach the threshold in less than two years under this scenario.. There is, however, one bit of good news for small business owners..

So consider this… If you were working 40 hours a week, you may become the victim of corporate planning to adjust for the new 30 hour classification for requiring employers to pay health insurance..  here’s an example..

Health Care Reform will most likely not be repealed, but consider that it costs nearly $100 Million Dollars to run the Health Insurance Exchange in just New York alone.. That’s expensive..  Tish Beismeyer is still at the table with us and we asked when people should start talking about these issues and for individuals, considering options, for Companies, considering new policies.. Luckily, one thing that hasn’t changed is that Burnham’s advice is free to individuals, small businesses municipalities and large corporations. Beismeyer says they can provide the consulting services for free because the broker costs are already included in the annual premium, whether or not you use a broker, so for anyone considering health insurance, Burnham can help you keep up with all of the best solutions for you, your company and your family..  and as Ian has said several times.. stay tuned because even the government hasn’t answered all of the questions yet.. One things for sure, the premium your paying right now is going up.. perhaps as much as 20% plus another 7% in taxes…  it’s no wonder there have been so many attempts in congress to repeal the entire legislation..

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