Feds: Employers Cannot Give Workers Stipends To Shop On Government Exchanges
The Labor Department warns businesses against giving workers money to buy individual insurance policies in government-run exchanges. Other stories look at the cost of such policies and also advise workers with employer-sponsored coverage what issues to consider during their annual open enrollment.
The New York Times' You're The Boss:
Regulators Warn Against Reimbursing Employees For Health Premiums
Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many small businesses have been intrigued by the possibility that they might be able to stop dealing with health insurance entirely and instead offer their employees a stipend to go buy insurance on the individual exchanges. But in a clarification issued in early November, the federal government appears to have taken a stand against that strategy. (Mandelbaum, 11/18)
The Wall Street Journal's Total Return:
Good News For Boomers Buying Health Plans
Here’s some good news for boomers in need of health insurance: Premiums for the most popular plans available under the Affordable Care Act are slated to rise by a relatively modest 3% to 4% in 2015. Open enrollment runs from Nov. 15 through Feb. 15. The data comes from Avalere Health, a health-care consulting firm in Washington D.C., which priced the three cheapest policies in the 30-plus states where consumers purchase policies through federally run exchanges. (The data doesn’t include premium prices in the 13 states that run their own exchanges. Nor does it include data from Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico, which run their own programs but use the federal government’s healthcare.gov site.) (Tergesen, 11/18)
Kaiser Health News:
Big Changes For 2015 Workplace Plans: Watch Out For These Six Possible Pitfalls
You don’t get a pass this year on big health insurance decisions because you’re not shopping in an Affordable Care Act marketplace. Employer medical plans — where most working-age folks get coverage — are changing too. Rising costs, a looming tax on rich benefit packages and the idea that people should buy medical treatment the way they shop for cell phones have increased odds that workplace plans will be very different in 2015. (Hancock, 11/19).