Keenan Blog

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Rock and Enroll: December 15 Deadline Approaching Fast

Guest Blogger 12/5/2017
Guest Blogger

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. the ACA, or “Obamacare”) has not been “repealed and replaced” yet, and there are some urgent matters coming up quickly relating to the health care law that we don’t want you to miss.

Individuals should know…

If you need health insurance for 2018 and you don’t receive coverage through employment, it’s time to rock and enroll! If you purchase your insurance through the health insurance exchange, Covered California, you must enroll by December 15, 2017 so that your coverage begins January 1, 2018. Although Covered California open enrollment continues through January 31, the deadline to get health insurance that is effective at the beginning of the year is December 15.

Yes, there is still a significant tax penalty if you don’t have health insurance. Even though the Tax Reform bill passed by the Senate early Saturday morning included a repeal of the individual health insurance mandate, that provision is not yet final.

You may have heard that certain federal funds, known as cost-sharing reductions were terminated for 2018. To compensate for this change and continue the enhanced benefits under Silver level plans, Covered California has implemented a cost-sharing reduction surcharge for 2018, that will be added to rates for consumers with Silver plans. While this will raise the price that some consumers pay for their health insurance, most consumers will not see a significant change in their net monthly premium, because the amount of their premium subsidy will increase as well.

KeenanDirect is actively working to help individuals work through these changes and answering questions about 2018 coverage.  If you have questions about the choices available to you and the costs you can expect for individual and family health plans, contact us at 855-653-3626.

Employers should know…

The IRS has started sending out Employer Mandate penalty notices for the 2015 calendar year.  The IRS will send Letter 226J if it determines that, for at least one month in the year, one or more of the employer’s full-time employees was enrolled in Exchange coverage, the employee claimed a premium tax credit and the employer did not qualify for an affordability safe harbor or other relief.  Shortly after the update, and just as quietly, the IRS officially began sending out notices.

With the Employer Mandate enforcement process now off and running, employers need to be ready to respond.  Advise your mailroom staff to keep an eye out for these notices to ensure they get to the right person in a timely manner.  Remember, a response is due to the IRS by the date indicated on the notice, which will generally be 30 days from the date of the notice. Employers using third-party vendors for tracking and reporting should work with their vendor to: (1) ensure the records for 2015 are readily accessible, including information about eligibility, offers of coverage, and affordability, and (2) to determine what services, if any, the vendor will provide to assist in responding to the IRS.  Finally, employers should consult with their legal counsel and tax advisor for guidance.



sam_blog_bioAbout Sam Cole
Sam Cole serves as Vice President of KeenanDirect. He has more than two decades of experience in the California insurance market. He is a Lifetime qualified member of the National Association of Health Underwriter’s (NAHU) Leading Producers Round Table.