Health Care Reform
One of my top priorities is to improve the quality of our health care system, curb health care costs and ensure that more Americans and their families have access to affordable and reliable health care coverage. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I worked with my colleagues in both political parties to pass a comprehensive health care reform law—the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act was developed upon the core principle of transforming our health care system from an inefficient fee-for-service system to a preventative and coordinated care system that keeps patients healthy and, ultimately, leads to better outcomes for less money.
Today more than 20 million Americans and their families have gained health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act. These families now enjoy the benefits of access to free preventive services like cancer screenings, contraception, help with tobacco cessation, and yearly checkups. The uninsured rate is less than nine percent—an all-time low. Delaware’s uninsured rate has fallen from 9.7 percent in 2010 to 5.9 percent in 2015. At the same time, this progress has been realized while reducing the federal deficit, improving the quality of health care provided under Medicare and Medicaid, and extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by 11 years.
Below are helpful resources for you, your business or your family to determine how the Affordable Care Act can help you.
More Affordable and Reliable Health Care on the Health Insurance Marketplace
The Affordable Care Act is making sure that every family in the First State and across our country has access to high-quality and affordable health care through state-based health insurance marketplaces. The marketplace allows individuals and small businesses in Delaware to gain the purchasing power of larger employers and to compare and choose insurance plans that best meet both their health and financial needs.
Since 2014, more than 40,000 Delawareans have signed up for health care coverage through the health insurance marketplace or Medicaid, and most have received financial assistance to help cover the cost of their insurance premiums.
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 gives small businesses the chance to review, compare and select plans as well as make a single payment to the Marketplace for employee premiums.
The SHOP is available to businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. 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, however, that many do in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of their workforce, and retain top talent. 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.