What ODA members need to know about the Affordable Care Act
President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law March 23, 2010. Several ACA provisions will impact dentists as both health care providers and small business owners and employers.
The Health Insurance Exchanges created by the ACA will open on October 1, 2013. The state and federal insurance exchanges are websites on which individuals and small businesses can shop for health plans. Most small employers—those with 50 or fewer full-time employees—are not required to offer health insurance under the ACA. However, all employers, regardless of size, are required to notify their employees about the ACA insurance exchanges. The notification requirement applies to any business regulated under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which covers all companies with at least one employee and $500,000 in annual revenue. There are no exceptions for small employers, which means a majority of dental offices will need to get the notice to their employees.
Employers must provide the notice to employees, regardless of plan status or full-time or part-time status, by October 1, 2013. The notice must be provided to every employee free of charge and written in language that the average employee can understand. It must also be provided to new hires starting in 2014. The US Department of Labor has posted information about the notification requirement on its website and has provided model notices that can be used both by employers who offer insurance and by those who do not offer insurance.
It is important to note that Oklahoma will not have a state-supported health insurance exchange. Information about the availability of plans in the marketplace, and other important information about the ACA can be found at www.HealthCare.gov.
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