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Morgan County employees may see a decrease in health insurance

Article Date: 
27 September, 2013 (All day)

With Obamacare on the horizon, Morgan County may not have much to worry about, said Scott Deru of Fringe Benefits.  In fact, Deru predicted a drop in rates for the county as much as 20 percent.
Since Morgan County is in a rural location with 45 full-time employees that are “older,” county employees can expect between a 15 and 20 percent decrease in their health care premiums.
With that many employees, Morgan County is now considered a small business in regards to federal guidelines.  
In the past, the county has selected their own combination of copays, deductibles and services.  They will no longer have that option, Deru said.  Instead, the county will have to go to a generic “insurance in a box” sort of health insurance, he said.
People across the nation will be seeing a change in their insurance based on how old they are.  In the past, a healthy 19-year-old may pay $100 for an individual plan while a 60-year old paid $600 for the same plan.  That 6-to-1 rate slope will be replaced by a 3-to-1 on Obamacare.  Therefore, the “younger, healthier” people will see rate increases of some 100 percent, while the older generation may see decreases of 20 percent, Deru said.
“Your group is a little older in age,” Deru told the Morgan County Council.
“We are quite rural here, but access most of our care in Weber and Davis counties,” Deru said.  “They can rate for that.”
The exact method of counting full-time employees—when considering part-time and seasonal employees—as well as at what point a business is considered a small or large business
“The rules are complex,” Deru said.
People will not have to deal with preexisting conditions and medical questions when qualifying for health insurance with the new Obamacare.
But the stakes are high for employers.
Penalties are high for larger employers who don’t offer their employees an affordable qualified plan.  Affordable has been defined as 9.5 percent of payroll for single health insurance coverage.  Those who are offered affordable qualified plans through their employer will not qualify for a federal subsidy.  Large employers that do not offer affordable qualified plans can be penalized $2,000 per employee.
While rates may be on the decrease for the county, Deru warned that new federal taxes on things such as medical devices and re-insurance can eat up the savings.
The new 30-hour work-week definition for health care is redefining America and what it considers full-time work, Deru said.  Some Americans will be surprised to discover the tax penalties associated with not having insurance under the new guidelines, Deru said.
“Individual plans will get hit the hardest,” Deru said.  “The average will be a 130 percent increase on individual polities in Utah.”
Throwing as much as 80 percent of the 30 million uninsured Americans into the health insurance pool will have widespread consequences, Deru said.  “There may be a severe doctor shortage, and longer waits to get things done.  From a social standpoint, you are insuring more people.”