On Bauer Business Focus – A conversation on what employers and individuals should know about the new healthcare changes with Ed Mayberry, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.
Clocking in at 2,400 pages, the healthcare bill passed earlier this year is said to be twice as long as Tolstoy’s War and Peace and half as easy to understand. True or not, it is one of the most sweeping changes in legislation and a lot for employers, insurers and consumers to take in.
“When people tell me they are having trouble understanding the new healthcare legislation, I say, ‘join the club.’” says Shannon Meroney, director of state government relations for Aetna. “It’s an enormous piece of legislation to get your arms around, and I think everyone is trying to understand it right now.”
Meroney says employers look to her company and other insurers for guidance on how to implement the changes. She advises them to focus on what is happening right now in the first six months.
“Most of the big changes will hit in 2014. The fastest changes will happen three months after the enactment of the law, which is in June.”
These changes, which we can expect to see by September of this year include:
- Coverage will have to be offered for dependents up to age 26. In Texas, the previous limit was 25.
- There will be no lifetime limits or dollar limits of coverage.
- Insurers will no longer be allowed to rescind policies unless for intentional fraud or misrepresentation.
- There will be guaranteed policies for children under 19. No pre-existing condition will keep them from getting a policy.
In terms of what consumers can expect in 2014, “I think the biggest changes we will see is how people apply for insurance and how we as insurers are able to give it,” says Meroney.
“That lengthy, detailed questionnaire everyone is used to filling out will go to 3 questions; the only factors we will be able to rate people on is their age, family composition and where they live.”
The way some people purchase insurance in 2014 will also change, taking place on an online exchange.
Meroney explains, “The exchange is intended to provide a marketplace that’s in one place through the Internet where individuals and small group employers will go for one-stop-shopping. Think ‘Travelocity for insurance.”
According to Meroney, there is a lot of education going on within the industry and in mainstream media about these changes, and there is still a lot to learn.
Click here to hear the full Bauer Business Focus interview.