Obamacare Accounts Can Be Registered Today
The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) announced today that individuals don’t have to wait until October to set up their accounts for enrollment in healthcare. An individual will not be able to actually enroll until October 1, 2013. However, in an effort to get people ready for the fall enrollment, the HHS is encouraging people to get a head start by registering their account on the healthcare.gov website.
What Do Individuals Need to Provide?
Setting up an account is fairly easy. Individuals are asked to provide their name, the name of the State they live in and an email address. Next a user name, password and a set of security questions will need to be completed. Anyone who has used on-line banking or other on-line accounts will be familiar with the process.
After the information is processed, the individual will receive an email asking them to click on the link to verify the registration is valid. Clicking on the link will bring the person back to healthcare.gov website.
Can Individuals See Plan Information and Premiums?
Not yet. That information won’t be available until October 1, 2013. However, since a person will need to have an account to review and possibly enroll in one of the Insurance Marketplace plans; it doesn’t hurt to get ready by at least setting up the account now.
What if an Individual’s State had its Own Exchange?
When a person goes to the healthcare.gov website, they’ll be asked to identify the State they live in. If the State has set up its own Insurance Exchange (for example, California), then the healthcare.gov website will direct you to the home page for that Exchange.
Each State will have its own rules and some may not be ready yet for pre-registration. However, this will be the place you’ll go to in October to review and possibly enroll in one of the insurance plans offered on the State Exchange. A person may want to bookmark the page for future references and/or sign up for updates if that option is available. Of course, you can always get to the State Exchange websites by going to the healthcare.gov website.
What Should Employers Do Now to Help Employees Prepare?
Obamacare is here to stay for now. Even though the Employer Mandate has been delayed until 2015, the rest of the law will proceed with open enrollment in the Insurance Marketplace beginning on October 1, 2013.
Now is the time to start thinking about communicating with your employees about how the Affordable Care Act will affect them and their families. The messages they’ll be receiving over the next few months may be confusing and they will look to the employer for guidance. In September, employers will have to provide the statutory required Exchange Notice to all employees (even those not eligible for coverage under the employer’s group health plan).
Not Ready to Handle Employee Questions or Develop the Exchange Notice?
BCL Systems has a full range of services to help you from developing and delivering the Exchange Notice to answering the questions that will arise between now and when the Insurance Marketplaces begin enrollments. In addition to handling inquiries about this complex law from employees and your staff, we can help with verification of eligibility with the Insurance Marketplace, provide internal and external reporting and also help you track variable hour employees.
As with all our services, we offer a menu of options that are custom fit to help minimize the impact of this evolving regulation.
Do You Need More Information?
Acahelper.com is a website that was developed by BCL Systems, Inc. to keep individuals and employers informed on various issues under the Affordable Care Act. You can subscribe to this website to receive notice of future articles that will affect healthcare under Obamacare. Why not stop by and check out the resources that are available to help individuals and businesses make informed decisions about this important aspect of employee benefits.