Healthcare Reform: Are You and Your Business Ready?

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Dave Trout
Dave Trout, Owner of Trout Insurance

Healthcare reform has been a hot political topic for a long time now. But did you know that the new health insurance laws start taking affect on October 1st?

It surprised us, too!

So we checked in with Dave Trout, owner of Trout Insurance, to learn how the new laws will affect local small business owners.

Do you believe the new regulations will help or hurt small business owners?

It will be mostly positive, especially for the types of small businesses that work with Mountain BizWorks. If you have fewer than 50 employees, you will not be required to offer health insurance. But if you do decide to offer benefits, you may receive tax benefits – especially if you have fewer than 10 employees. One of the main benefits of the new system will be the ability to buy coverage through the insurance exchange. This should mean large premium discounts.

What is the insurance exchange?

It’s a new “marketplace,” or online insurance store. All of the plans within the exchange have been approved to meet the new requirements and include premium discounts. Folks may go online or work with a navigator or agent (for no additional cost) to find the plan that’s best for them.

When do the new health care laws go into effect?

First of all, I think it’s important to make a clarification. Everyone refers to this as “health care reform” but it’s actually “health insurance reform” since the new laws do not affect the doctor-patient relationship. To answer your question, open enrollment starts October 1, 2013 for an effective date of January 1, 2014. Open enrollment lasts until March 31, 2014.

If I’m happy with my current insurance, can I keep it?

Only if you were “grandfathered in,” which means you purchased your insurance prior to March 2010 and have made no changes.

If I don’t have insurance right now, will I be required to get insurance?

Yes, you will be required to purchase insurance by March 31, 2014 or to pay a tax penalty, which will be $95 for most folks in 2014.

What is the cost of working with an insurance broker, and do the new laws change anything about working with a broker?

There is no additional cost to the customer. We have always been paid by the carrier and will continue to be. My business, Trout Insurance, is also now certified by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to sell on the new insurance exchange and we have high ethical standards, which includes keeping personal information private.

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If you’d like to learn more about this topic, don’t miss our free seminar on October 3rd. Dave will give a detailed explanation of the new plans and benefits available to small businesses; premium discounts that will make coverage more affordable; and explain how and when to enroll. Bring your questions!

We expect this to be a popular event, and space is limited, so reserve your spot now.

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