Health Insurance Changes in 2012

Many provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA, also popularly known as ObamaCare) are designed to be introduced incrementally. Here’s what you have to look forward to in 2012 health insurance changes if you have small business health coverage or individual health insurance. Unless otherwise noted, all health insurance changes become effective on January 1, 2012.

  • Employers with more than 250 W-2 employees must report the aggregate cost of employer-sponsored health insurance. The information must be included on the 2012 W-2 forms, which will be distributed in January of 2013. The intention is to provide workers with more information about the benefits they
    receive as part of their total compensation and to help them understand the amount of their employer’s contribution.
  • Businesses must also give workers an easy-to-understand summary of their health insurance benefits and coverage. These have to be issued during open enrollment, when a new employee is hired and upon request to any employee or eligible dependent. The summary has to follow a format set by Health and Human Services (HHS), and use uniform definitions of benefits and services.
  • Employers must provide  all employees with at least 60 days advance written notice of any changes in benefits.
  • Beginning September 2012, any employer who provides health care to workers must pay an annual fee of $1 per covered employee (i.e.,200 covered workers, $200 annual fee). The fees collected will be used to fund research on patient care. The fee will increase to $2 per covered employee in October 2013. The fee is scheduled to be phased out by 2019.

Repealed and Tabled Provisions

  • The voluntary long-term care insurance provision of ACA that would have provided cash benefits to adults who become disabled was tabled last month. HHS Secretary Sebelius told Congress that her department did not see a viable path for its implantation at this time.
  • Finally, the ObamaCare requirement that all business owners submit 1099 forms to any company to whom they paid $600 or more for goods or services (yes, that included your gas station) was repealed. Congress wisely saw that this would put a huge time and cost burden on businesses and had zip to do with health care reform, anyway.

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