After a rocky first few days following its long-anticipated Oct. 1 opening for enrollment, Covered California, the state health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has now reported some data on the number of consumers who have been able to access health insurance through the new marketplace.
After the first week of activation, Covered California saw more than 980,000 visitors to the insurance website, with more than 16,000 completed applications to purchase individual or family coverage. More than 400 small businesses also registered with the marketplace to begin to purchase coverage for their employees.
Any individual or small-business employer has the option to purchase private health insurance coverage through the new web portal found at coveredca.com. Open enrollment continues through March 2014.
While there is no requirement for businesses with fewer than 200 employees to offer health coverage to their workforce, small businesses can purchase more affordable coverage through a separate Exchange offering insurance products designed specifically for them and their employees. Some businesses with fewer than 25 employees that meet certain criteria may also be eligible for small-business tax rebates to help cover the cost of the coverage they purchase for employees. For more information on the small business tax credits, search for “Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for Small Employers” on irs.gov.
While there is no mandate on most employers to provide coverage, beginning Jan. 1, it will be a requirement that every individual have qualifying medical insurance coverage or pay a penalty. There are many ways people can meet this requirement. Most individuals who already have coverage (whether through the individual or group market, as part of an employer-sponsored plan, or through government coverage like Medicare or Veterans benefits, for example), are likely to already qualify, and thus will see little change. However, individuals who had been barred from coverage in the past (for having pre-existing conditions, for example) or who found coverage in the individual market too costly, should be able to access affordable, comprehensive coverage through the Exchange.
CDA remains actively engaged in all of the ACA’s implementation details and can be a resource to members interested in finding out more about the new law and how it may impact dentists and dentistry.
In addition to contacting CDA, members may also want to explore the information available on Covered California’s website at coveredca.com.
For more information, contact CDA’s Manager of Legislative Affairs Nicette Short at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916.554.4970.