Health insurance reform continues to make headlines as the government announces updates to the law. We want to help you stay informed on this important topic.
In July, the government decided to delay the implementation of the employer mandate and reporting requirements that were scheduled to become effective Jan. 1, 2014, under the health insurance reform law. Because Publix already offers health insurance to associates working 30 hours or more a week, this change does not have a significant impact on us. However, the individual mandate requiring virtually all Americans to have health insurance and other key aspects of the health insurance reform law are still scheduled to become effective Jan. 1, 2014.
How can I obtain health insurance for 2014?
In order to comply with the health insurance reform law, Americans have the option to obtain health insurance from the Marketplace or their employer, if their employer offers health insurance and the applicable eligibility requirements are met. The Marketplace is where you can shop and compare government-run health plans.
Fortunately for eligible Publix associates and their families, we offer comprehensive, affordable health coverage through the Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan. If you’re eligible to participate in Publix’s health plan, you should take advantage of it and enroll on PASSport during open enrollment in order to comply with the law. Open enrollment runs Sept. 28 – Nov. 1.
How do I know if I’m eligible for Publix’s health plan?
Full-time associates are eligible to participate in Publix’s health plan after 90 days of continuous full-time employment.
Part-time associates who are at least 19 years old are initially eligible to participate in Publix’s health plan after completing one year of employment if they work 1,500 or more hours during that year. For subsequent calendar years of employment (January – December), part-time associates generally must work 1,500 or more hours during a calendar year to meet or maintain eligibility for the next calendar year.
If you’re already eligible as of the beginning of September, you’ll receive an open enrollment packet at your work location by the end of September. This open enrollment packet will provide you with important information about enrolling in coverage on PASSport. Part-time associates can elect health coverage during open enrollment, but their health coverage election will become effective on Jan. 1, 2014, only if they work 1,500 or more hours during the 2013 calendar year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2013).
How is health insurance reform impacting Publix’s health plan?
Many changes required by the health insurance reform law have a significant impact on employers and employees, including Publix and its associates. Changes like the elimination of lifetime and annual maximums provide our enrolled associates and their family members significantly more coverage while increasing health care costs. As a result of the increased coverage and increased costs, associate premiums and calendar year deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums are increasing for 2014. The open enrollment packet will provide more information on these plan changes.
Publix remains committed to offering comprehensive, affordable health care coverage to its associates and their families. In order to keep associate premiums affordable, Publix continues to pay the majority of the cost of coverage for its associates and their family members enrolled in the health plan.
Why should I enroll in Publix’s health plan?
Since Publix pays the majority of the cost of health coverage, we’re confident our BCBS PPO Plan’s premiums will be lower than Marketplace health plan premiums for gold-level coverage and most others. And because Publix offers its eligible associates a gold-level health plan with an affordable premium for associate-only coverage, you won’t be eligible for an advance tax credit for health insurance purchased from the Marketplace.
Learn more about the health insurance reform law in next month’s issue.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, virtually all Americans must have health insurance. If you’re eligible for Publix’s health plan, you should enroll in coverage during open enrollment, Sept. 28 – Nov. 1, to comply with the law.
As decisions and changes are made by the government, the information in this article could change. At the time this article went to print, the individual mandate is effective Jan. 1, 2014, and the Marketplace is expected to be available in October 2013 for 2014 coverage.