Health Care Reform: a Look at the Basics from Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Care Network of Michigan

Posted: 06/27/2013 in Member Experts
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Health Care Questions

Health care is evolving and there’s a lot of information to wade through. So we’re here to help you get to the bottom line.

How does health care reform impact you and your employees?

We want you to know your options so you can make good decisions about your company’s health care coverage. We’ve started a series that provides you with easy-to-understand information about the Affordable Care Act and its requirements.

So be sure to look for the health care reform articles in each issue. In this article, we begin with the basics.

Why health care reform and why now?

Health care reform is driven by a number of factors:

  • Currently, we spend more than 17 percent of every earned dollar on health care.
  • Almost half of all Americans have chronic diseases — diabetes, asthma, heart and cardiovascular disease — that currently cause about 70 percent of all U.S. deaths.
  • Many people are not insured or don’t have as much insurance as they need.

These are huge issues. Congress passed the health care reform law as the first step in addressing them.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The companion bill, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, was signed on March 30, 2010. Together, these two bills constitute the national health care reform law, known as the Affordable Care Act.

Beginning in 2014, U.S. citizens and legal residents will be required to have health insurance — whether they purchase it on their own, get it through an employer or are covered by a government program such as Medicaid or Medicare. The law requires everyone to have a standard set of basic medical benefits covered in his or her plans. The Affordable Care Act also introduces the Health Insurance Marketplace.

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

Starting on Oct. 1, 2013, eligible individuals may buy health insurance through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. If your employees do not get insurance through your business, their parents or a government-sponsored program, the Marketplace is where they can go to buy insurance if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Think of Expedia.com, where you can compare potential purchases in one place. The Marketplace is meant to give people a place to compare and understand health plans from different companies so that individuals can choose the plan that’s best for them. The Marketplace will also be available by phone and, in certain areas, walk-in centers for people who do not have Internet access.

Preparing your business and your employees

In upcoming issues, we’ll talk about your role in complying with the law — the decisions you need to make and the notices you need to provide your employees. We’ve also created a resource for you and your employees at healthcarereformbasics.com.

This article was provided courtesy of

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