One of the major hurdles for the ACA has long been a lack of public understanding about the basics of the law. This is significantly exacerbated by the blatantly false information that has been circulated by many “Obamacare” opponents over the last few years. That’s not to say that the ACA is perfect – it definitely has its flaws. But public understanding of the law has been greatly hampered by people whose sole purpose is to defeat it. If you’re trying to learn about the ACA and how it will impact you and your family, you’re probably better off getting your information from a source that isn’t hell-bent on doing away with the law (and if that’s their intent, they probably have zero interest in your family’s access to healthcare, which is one more reason to ignore them).
In addition to a widespread lack of understanding about the law, there’s also a significant gap between how people expect to learn about the law and how they probably actually will learn about it. A recent AFLAC survey found that 75% of employees think that their employer is going to educate them about changes to their health insurance as a result of the ACA, but only 13% of employers indicated that was a priority for their company (more info from the AFLAC study available here).
This comes in conjunction with the announcement that employers should communicate with their employees about the health insurance marketplace (exchange) by October 1, 2013, but there is no fine or penalty for employer who don’t. Of course some employers will provide information and support to their employees. But some will not. In the latter group, you’ll have a combination of employers who lack understanding themselves about the ACA and the marketplace, and those who simply forget or are too busy to deal with it. But there will also be employers who are actively opposed to the ACA and choose not to inform their employees about the marketplace or changes to health insurance as a result of the ACA.
Ultimately, a lot of people, including the self-employed as well as employees who don’t have access to employer-sponsored health insurance (keep in mind that the employer mandate that requires employers to offer health insurance only applies to businesses with 50 or more employees), will have to educate themselves about the ACA and the health insurance options that are available to them. The marketplaces (exchanges) should be opening tomorrow, although there may be some delays, especially in the small business SHOP exchange. In Colorado, you can contact Connect for Health Colorado directly to have a navigator help you compare your options, or you can have us help you figure it out, as our brokerage will be working with Connect for Health Colorado to help enroll new members. Enrollment begins tomorrow, but effective dates don’t start until January 1, 2014, so you still have plenty of time to figure out what you want to do. We can also help you find an underwritten plan that you’ll be able to keep until it renews in 2014, if you apply for coverage that’s effective before the end of the year (this would mean you’re getting a plan in the existing market that is not yet ACA compliant). As always, there’s no charge for our services. We’ve been helping people in Colorado find the health insurance that best fits their needs since 2002, and we look forward to helping you find the best solution for your situation as we move forward with the implementation of the ACA. Please let us know how we can help!