Updated Kaiser Family Foundation Tool May Help Project Which Employees Will Get Exchange Subsidies


Employers, health insurers, health plan administrators and brokers and individuals wanting help projecting when employees or other individuals are likely to qualify for subsidies for enrolling in the health insurance exchanges established under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA) may want to check out the updated the Kaiser Family Foundation’s updated  health reform subsidy calculator (Subsidy Calculator).  The Obama Administration now refers to these ACA-mandated exchanges as “Marketplaces.”

Kaiser Family Foundation has developed the Subsidy Calculator as a tool to help estimate and illustrate how government subsidies, designed to help with the cost of insurance premiums, will work under ACA when Marketplaces and the ACA subsidy rules take effect in January.

Beginning in 2014, ACA provides tax credits for  certain low to moderate-income people under age 65 purchasing coverage through an Exchange, who are not offered affordable minimum essential coverage providing minimum value under an employer plan or otherwise covered through Medicare, or Medicaid, and instead purchase coverage on their own in a Marketplace.

The Subsidy Calculator is intended by Kaiser Family Foundation to help users can estimate the expected financial impact of the law for people based on income level, family size, age, and tobacco usage by entering the relevant information into the calculator. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the tool “estimates the premiums and subsidies available in 2014, once relevant provisions in the health reform law take effect. For users whose household income may qualify them for Medicaid, the tool indicates that Medicaid will be available in states that expand the program and illustrates subsidies and coverage options in states that choose not to expand. The updated calculator — which reflects the latest regulatory guidance from the federal government — also illustrates the option to purchase different levels of coverage and displays the maximum out-of-pocket costs that people would face.”

Kaiser Family Foundation warns users that the Subsidy Calculator has certain limitations.  For instance, Kaiser Family Foundation says, “In many cases, coverage in the new marketplaces will be more comprehensive and accessible than what is typically available today in the non-group market and premiums will no longer vary by health status. For these reasons, the calculator cannot show what people buying insurance on their own are now paying and its results are not necessarily comparable to current insurance premiums. The subsidies do not apply to people with coverage available through an employer, where the firm is generally paying for a substantial portion of the insurance premium. “

Despite these limitations, the Subsidy Calculator is likely to be a helpful modeling tool for individuals and businesses in making rough projections.  Employers and health plans may want to look at the Subsidy Calculator to help project workers likely to qualify for subsidies as well as to help design communications, with appropriate disclaimers, for workers to use to help make decisions in their upcoming health plan enrollment process.

For Help or More Information

If you need help with preparing these or other ACA compliance or with reviewing and updating, administering or defending your group health or other employee benefit, human resources, insurance, health care matters or related documents or practices, please contact the author of this update, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.

A Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Council, immediate past Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Group and current Co-Chair of its Welfare Benefit Committee, Vice-Chair of the ABA TIPS Employee Benefits Committee, a council member of the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, and past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, Ms. Stamer is recognized, internationally, nationally and locally for her more than 25 years of work, advocacy, education and publications on cutting edge health and managed care, employee benefit, human resources and related workforce, insurance and financial services, and health care matters including extensive experience on HIPAA and other privacy and data security issues.

A board certified labor and employment attorney widely known for her extensive and creative knowledge and experienced with these and other employment, employee benefit and compensation matters, Ms. Stamer continuously advises and assists employers, employee benefit plans, their sponsoring employers, fiduciaries, insurers, administrators, service providers, insurers and others to monitor and respond to evolving legal and operational requirements and to design, administer, document and defend medical and other welfare benefit, qualified and non-qualified deferred compensation and retirement, severance and other employee benefit, compensation, and human resources, management and other programs and practices tailored to the client’s human resources, employee benefits or other management goals.  A primary drafter of the Bolivian Social Security pension privatization law, Ms. Stamer also works extensively with management, service provider and other clients to monitor legislative and regulatory developments and to deal with Congressional and state legislators, regulators, and enforcement officials concerning regulatory, investigatory or enforcement concerns.

Extensively published and a popular speaker on HIPAA and other data security matters, Ms. Stamer works extensively on health benefit and other related health care reform, insurance, workforce and employee benefit matters.

Recognized in Who’s Who In American Professionals and both an American Bar Association (ABA) and a State Bar of Texas Fellow, Ms. Stamer serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of Employee Benefits News, the editor and publisher of Solutions Law Press HR & Benefits Update and other Solutions Law Press Publications, and active in a multitude of other employee benefits, human resources and other professional and civic organizations.   She also is a widely published author and highly regarded speaker on these matters. Her insights on these and other matters appear in the Bureau of National Affairs, Spencer Publications, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Business Journal, the Houston Business Journal, Modern and many other national and local publications.   You can learn more about Ms. Stamer and her experience, review some of her other training, speaking, publications and other resources, and register to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns from Ms. Stamer here.

Other Resources

If you found this update of interest, you also may be interested in reviewing some of the other updates and publications authored by Ms. Stamer available including:

For important information about this communication click here. THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMER IS INCLUDED TO COMPLY WITH AND IN RESPONSE TO U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR 230 REGULATIONS.  ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, OR (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.

©2013 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C.  Nonexclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc.  All other rights reserved

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