Health Care Reform
I have worked hard over the past several years to improve the quality of our health care system, curb health care costs and provide coverage to more Americans. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I worked with my colleagues in both parties to develop and pass a comprehensive health care reform law. The Affordable Care Act takes steps to move our health care system away from an inefficient fee-for-service system to one of preventative and coordinated care that keeps patients healthy, ultimately leading to better outcomes for less money. Below are helpful resources for you, your business or your family to determine how the Affordable Care Act can help you.
Affordable Health Care for all on the Health Insurance Marketplace
In the first open enrollment period for the health insurance marketplaces, more than 8 million Americans were able to purchase more affordable, high quality health insurance. The marketplace allows individuals and small businesses in Delaware to gain purchasing power similar to that of large companies, and be able to compare, shop for, and choose insurance plans that best meet both their health and financial needs. I believe that moving toward a health insurance system that harnesses the power of market forces and competition will help to drive down health insurance costs for everyone and improve access to health care.
Help Enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace
While enrollment in health insurance through the marketplace has closed for 2014, the next enrollment period starts Nov. 15, 2014. For information about insurance plans available through the Delaware insurance marketplace, please go to ChooseHealthDE.com or call 1-800-318-2596. For specific questions related to insurance premiums on the Delaware marketplace, I urge you to contact the Delaware Department of Insurance at www.delawareinsurance.gov or (302) 674-7300.
Information for Small Businesses
The Affordable Care Act gives small businesses better options to provide affordable, higher quality health care coverage to their employees. Through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace, small business owners can form large purchasing pools and reduce administrative overhead fees to lower their health insurance costs. The SHOP will also give small businesses the chance to review, compare and select plans as well as make a single payment to the Marketplace for employee premiums. In 2015, the SHOP will be open to businesses with 50 or fewer full-time workers. Beginning in 2016, SHOP will be available to businesses with 100 or fewer full-time workers. Some small businesses may also qualify for significant tax credits to help them offer insurance to employees. I strongly recommend that small businesses review the cost and benefits of all of their health insurance options to determine which plan may work best for their situation.
Small businesses can learn more about plan options and rates in Delaware, as well as ways to obtain assistance navigating the health insurance marketplace, please visit www.choosehealthde.com, or call 1-800-318-2596. Even with the new benefits created by the Affordable Care Act, it is important to note that small businesses under 50 employees are not required to offer health insurance to their employees. I understand though that many do in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of their workforce, and retain top talent. In addition, employers with 50-99 employees do not have to offer coverage to their employees until 2016, and employers with 100 or more employees only have to offer coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees in 2015 and 95 percent of their full-time employees in 2016. Below are additional resources that may be helpful to you:
- To learn how the Affordable Care Act affects you, please visit the Small Business Administration, which has information specifically for small businesses, including weekly webinars, at http://www.sba.gov/healthcare/.
- To learn more about the Delaware SHOP Marketplace please visit http://www.choosehealthde.com/Health-Insurance/Business-Owners.
- To find out if your small business may be eligible for the SHOP Marketplace, please visit https://www.healthcare.gov/fte-calculator/.
- For more information on the tax credits that are available to help qualifying small businesses offer health insurance coverage to their employees through the SHOP Marketplace, please visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Small-Business-Health-Care-Tax-Credit-for-Small-Employers and https://www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses/small-business-tax-credit-calculator/.
- To find a health insurance solution that best fits you, your business, and your employees. I encourage you to visit https://www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses/.
- To phone the SHOP Call Center for assistance and information, please call 1-800-706-7893 between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.