ACA Notice in the Mail to All Faculty and Staff
Healthcare Reform Update: Exhange Posts Rates Tuesday
- By Rodman W. Cory
All faculty, staff and temporary employees (with the exception of temporary employees employed through an agency) will receive a notice in the mail at home within the next few days. The notice, mandated by the federal government, will come from the University of Vermont and will set forth key information about each employee's cost and eligibility for healthcare coverage through the University.
It is important to understand that the University's coverage and eligibility are not changing. Those who have been covered will stay covered, and their eligibility for coverage will not change. Those who have not been eligible, will remain not eligible. (Although coverage and eligibility are not changing, rates will climb by roughly 3% on January 1, 2014, as communicated during Open Enrollment in May. This increase is associated with costs being passed on by the federal government to all individuals with private insurance coverage.)
Here's what you need to know:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) brings sweeping changes to the American healthcare system. These changes are being phased in over a period of several years and most are unlikely to directly affect UVM faculty and staff who have healthcare coverage through the University. (The indirect effect, most industry analysts agree, is that the cost of coverage for many Americans is likely to rise as more individuals are added to the healthcare system.)
There are two developments that may be of interest to individuals at this time:
- On January 1, 2014, Vermonters who fit the eligibility criteria, including some UVM faculty, staff and temporary employees, may purchase healthcare coverage through Vermont Health Connect, (VHC, also called "the Exchange," or "the Marketplace"). Most UVM faculty and staff will find that staying with the University's healthcare coverage through BlueCross and BlueShield of Vermont will make the most sense for them in terms of coverage and cost, however a small percentage of individuals may find that their particular situation makes purchasing coverage through VHC a better value. It is reasonable for those who think they may realize a cost savings through the Exchange to go to the VHC website to shop cost and coverage. (Individuals who are not eligible for healthcare coverage through an employer or family member will need to consider purchasing coverage through the Exchange.)
- On October 1, 2013, VHC will publish the plans and rates that will be available on January 1. From October 1 forward, Vermonters will be able to shop online and compare coverage and rates. As we've indicated, most UVM faculty and staff who are offered healthcare coverage through the University will find that the UVM plan provides the best combination of coverage and cost, but individuals should check the VHC website and verify that for themselves.
Those who wish to continue their present BlueCross and BlueShield of Vermont coverage through the UVM plan do not need to do anything—their coverage will continue as it is.
We understand that many people have questions related to these new provisions of the ACA and we have prepared a page of frequently asked questions and answers to help you and your family get a handle on the current developments. (The page, www.uvm.edu/hrs/aca, is accessible through the main page of the HRS website.) As always, answers will be updated as new questions arise.