WellU: Helping Small Businesses, Employees and Families Navigate the New Health Insurance Landscape
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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the single largest change to the U.S. health care system in our lifetimes. It will change the way small businesses and their employees purchase and manage health insurance. Here in our region of Florida, thousands of small businesses employ thousands of people. This is the foundation of our economy. Both employers and employees will have to make decisions about how to conform to the new law while keeping their best interests in perspective.
As part of our commitment to serving our region, RGVI is leading WellU — a campaign aimed at ensuring businesses and individuals have the most accurate, up-to-date and unbiased information to make informed health care decisions as ACA implementation gets underway.
The WellU campaign brings together experts in health care, business and insurance to help consumers navigate the changing health care landscape by offering information in a health academy format. Business owners, employees and families can turn to WellU’s experts in the weeks and months ahead to find a smooth transition into the new health insurance era. We want WellU participants to leave our events, panel discussions and forums feeling confident and educated about the ACA.
The new health insurance law includes a number of provisions that reform the insurance marketplace and encourage small businesses, defined as those with 50 or fewer full-time employees, to offer their staff health insurance. Effective January 1, 2015, businesses with 51 or more full-time employees will be required to provide insurance coverage, or face a tax penalty.
Contact RGVI at (850) 386-1111 to set up a panel, roundtable or other WellU event for your business, community organization or professional association. Our experts are ready to help you.
Five Terms Small Businesses Need to Know Concerning the Affordable Care Act
- Insurance Exchange—aka the health insurance Marketplace. The Exchanges are transparent, competitive online portals from which individuals and small businesses can purchase affordable, qualified health benefit plans. The Marketplace for small employers, known as the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) and the individual Marketplace for consumers and self-employed persons, will open in all states on January 1, 2014. Enrollment begins on October 1, 2013.
- Employer Shared Responsibility—this provision applies to businesses with 51 or more full-time or full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. A full-time employee generally works an average of 30 or more hours per week. This provision says business owners with 51 or more full-time employees who do not offer health care coverage to their full-time employees by January 1, 2015, may be subject to a $2,000 penalty per employee under the new law.
- Essential Health Benefits— the ACA requires businesses that offer their employees health insurance as a benefit to include essential health benefits within at least 10 core categories including emergency services, maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, and preventive and wellness services. Health plans offered in the Marketplace are also required to include essential health benefits.
- Small Business Health Care Tax Credits—the ACA offers tax credits for eligible small businesses that choose to provide insurance to their employees for the first time, or maintain the coverage they already have. If employers have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees and meet other conditions, their businesses may qualify for up to 35 percent of this tax credit.
- Wellness Program—a program offered to the workforce for the purpose of improving the health and fitness of employees. Common wellness program employee participation incentives include cash rewards, gym memberships and additional vacation days. The ACA creates new incentives to promote employer-instituted wellness programs.
Upcoming WellU Events
Education is the primary mission of the WellU Health ACAdemy. Get informed about how the ACA impacts you and your business by attending one of our upcoming events.
- December 5, 2013 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- WellU/Tallahassee Democrat Community Forum. Bond Community Health Center, 1720 S. Gadsden Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301
- February 25, 2014 11:15 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.:
- Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Lunch & Learn. RSVP required. Hampton Inn & Suites (I-10/Thomasville Rd.), 3388 Lonnbladh Rd., Tallahassee, FL. Contact Alexis Phillips, firstname.lastname@example.org, 850-205-0182 .
Here are some helpful websites:
ARE YOU A INDIVIDUAL OR A BUSINESS OWNER THAT IS INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT HOW THE ACA WILL AFFECT YOU? Email us at WellU@rgvi.com today!
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