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What health reform means for the people of Illinois

A blog by IllinoisHealthMatters.org

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On COBRA? New Announcement from HHS Could Save you Thousands of Dollars

In mid-April, I received a call from a 62-year-old woman named Alice who had been laid off from her job quite a while back. She was paying around $650 each month to maintain her COBRA coverage. Turns out she got my number from her brother, Carl, whom I had helped enroll into a Marketplace plan. He, too, was paying a lot of money each month for COBRA coverage after his employer had cut his hours in half, making him ineligible for employer-offered coverage. By enrolling into a subsidized Marketplace plan, Carl saved more than $400 a month in premium costs. He hoped I could also help his sister. Unfortunately, she called me just a few weeks after open enrollment had ended.

Normally, this would mean that she would have to wait until the next open enrollment period or until she exhausted her COBRA coverage before she could qualify for a Special Enrollment Period which would allow her to enroll into a much more affordable Marketplace plan. It seemed she had missed this window of opportunity – that is until HHS announced new Special Enrollment Periods for folks currently enrolled into COBRA coverage.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Can Non-Profits leverage the ACA to bring down health insurance costs?

The non-profit sector is a leading source of job growth in the United States and currently employs just under 11 million people nationally.[1]  Locally here in Illinois, we see  direct growth in this sector – now holding 10.6% of the private employment, up from 9% in 2005.[2]   However, in a recent survey of 600 national non-profit organizations, recent increases in employee turnover are indicated to be an ongoing concern.[3]  One of the greatest tools that organizations have available to them to attract and retain high quality employees is the compensation and benefits package.  Providing high value, yet affordable benefits is part of the ethos of most non-profit organizations.  However, as the cost curve of health insurance continues to rise, this proposition has become increasingly more challenging.  The Affordable Care Act created a small employer tax credit to help offset some of these costs – but many non-profits are left wondering how this might benefit them.