AZ USA: Friday, May 31 - 2013
With Healthcare Reform’s open enrollment for new state-based health insurance just around the corner, COBRA Solutions will be updating the COBRA Qualifying Event Notice to include information on the 2014 law changes. The expected release date for the updated notice is late August to early September 2013. You will receive the revised notice by updating your software through the normal methods. Over the next couple of months, we will keep all our users informed of software changes through our monthly newsletter (COBRAinReview).
The state-based health insurance marketplaces (or “Exchanges”) under the Affordable Care Act (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 out 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 then 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.
The Affordable Care Act is changing our country’s health care system and will continue to change as this new law is being implemented. As a COBRA Solutions customer, you can be rest assured that we are on top of all the up and coming changes to COBRA and will continue to monitor the law so you do not have too.