Health care reform in the United States began with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act more than three years ago, and changes across the country are being implemented over time though 2018. One of the biggest changes to come is the establishment of the Health Insurance Marketplace, sometimes called health insurance exchanges.
In 2014, the Marketplace will start offering health plans for individuals who have no medical insurance or may not qualify for health benefits through their employers.
Like most employers, the University of Michigan is required to send notices of the Health Insurance Marketplace to all employees, regardless of their current eligibility for health benefits. U-M faculty and staff will receive letters in a home mailing along with a copy of the Marketplace notice. Letters will be mailed by Oct. 1.
“For faculty and staff who are enrolled or are eligible to enroll in a U-M medical plan, no action is required in response the notice,” explained Laurita Thomas, associate vice president for human resources. “All U-M plans exceed government requirements for affordability, and an employee who opts out of our plans to elect a plan from the exchange would also be giving up the university’s monthly contribution toward their coverage.”
Employees who are not eligible to enroll in a U-M health plan may want to consider purchasing insurance through the exchanges. Depending on household income, employees may qualify for a federal tax credit and/or premium assistance to help reduce the cost of health coverage from the Marketplace.
“The Health Insurance Marketplace may provide a good option for people who are not insured,” Thomas said.
The Marketplace does not apply to U-M retirees and they will not receive a copy of the notice. Medicare is not part of the Marketplace. However, retirees who are younger than age 62 and are not on Medicare have the option to consider purchasing insurance coverage through the Marketplace.
A complete list of covered services under the Affordable Care Act and more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace is available at www.healthcare.gov.
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