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Vermont Healthcare Exchange

The healthcare environment in Vermont is evolving due to the affordable care act signed into law by President Obama in March, 2010.  Due to this, starting in January, 2014, most Vermonter's will access the healthcare system throught the Vermont Health Care Exchange.  Below are the basics for the new healthcare exchange and Bristol Financial Services can help you choose a plan that best fits you, your family and/or your company's needs.

Individuals and employer groups below 50 employees will have to purchase their health insurance thorught a State built exchange which offers standardized plans that will include essential health benefits.  BCBS and MVP are the carriers that are currenlty offering plans through the exhange for 2014. The exchange is a web based system that will allow individuals and company groups under 50 to enroll in the plans they choose from October 1st - December 15th, 2013, for a January 1st, 2014, start date.

What decisions will you need to make as we enter the enrollment period? If you are an employer, you will need to decide if you want to continue to offer an employer sponsored plan, as you do today.  If so, then you need to decide among the plan options offered via the exchange.  In making these decisions you'll want to evaluate plan costs including the particular subsidies that are available to people that enroll outside of group plans.  Here are some things to consider:

If Employers forgo offering a plan:

  • They will be penalized by the State of Vermont $40 per month for every Full Time Equivalent employee.
  • There is no Federal penalty.
  • Their employees will have to enroll themselves.  Will this cause more stress for employees and more work for business owners and HR staffs to address this?
  • Will not offering health care benefits make them less desirable to new and existing employees?
  • As an employer, will you gross up an employees pay to allow them to get coverage through the exchange? This will increase FICA tax and workers comp premium.
  • Employees would be eligible for subsidies.

If Employer continues to offer a plan:

  • Employees sign up online, but through the Company sponsored plan.  They still have choices.
  • Payroll deduction still available for EE portion of premium.
  • Employees are no longer eligible for subsidies.
  • They may be eligible for a small business tax credit.

This is just an overview of the new healthcare exchange.  There are many more details to discuss in order to decide on what plan is best for you and your family.  There are even more decisions to consider as a employer. 

Bristol Financial Services is here to help.  Shawn Oxford has the training and the contacts to answer your questions and help you arrive at the best decision.  Call Bristol Financial today at 802.453.2378 to schedule an appointment.

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