Do Distributors Have a Public Option to ‘Fall Back On’ with Obamacare?

A lot of confusion still exists as to how the Affordable Care Act will impact businesses.

More than two years after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a lot of confusion about what's included in 'Obamacare' still exists.

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Perhaps one of the most persistent misunderstandings about the law is whether it includes a government or public option for health insurance.

Simply put: It doesn't. That means that not providing affordable insurance options for your employees may result in a fine; you don't have a public option to fall back on.

The confusion stems from the initial discussions about the law, says Neil Crosby, chairman of media relations for the National Association of Health Underwriters. “At the start, the writers of the bill wanted government to be able to subsidize rates in the exchanges,” he told me recently. “But the bill couldn’t get enough votes with that provision in it.”

Sure the government will set up exchanges that individuals can get insurance through, but that doesn't get companies off the hook either. If any of your employees uses the exchange, Crosby warns, they'll be asked for information on their employers. And that means the government can still penalize you for not providing affordable insurance.

That said, companies with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees (yes, part-timers count toward this, as well) will not be subject to the fines.

Read more on The Practical Implications of 'Obamacare' on Distributors.

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