Bank Deposit Deadlines

Making the most of the mandate.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Editor’s Note: In a series by Sherri Buri McDonald, The
Register-Guard looks at how this upheaval in health care will affect
local businesses, individuals and
nonprofit

 groups.

The Affordable Care Act is the biggest overhaul of the U.S. health
care system since
Medicare and Medicaid

 were created in 1965. It aims to
give millions more people access to health insurance and
preventive
 /pre·ven·tive/ () prophylactic.


 or pre·ven·ta·tive
adj.
Preventing or slowing the course of an illness or disease; prophylactic.

n.
 health care, improving the overall health of Americans and curbing the
rising costs of health care.

With major pieces of the act set to kick in early next year,
Oregonians are
scrambling

 to find out what they have to do in the next
few months to meet the new state and national requirements for health
care.

The act has sweeping impacts, from individuals who will have to
obtain health insurance or face tax penalties, to large employers who
face a raft of new requirements and possible fines. State and federal
law still is evolving, however, generating lots of questions and some
anxiety.

Among the certainties at this point:

Large employers – those with 50 or more full-time equivalent
employees – must offer health plans that meet federal standards for
quality and affordability to their employees, as well as employees’
children, or face fines. Employers with less than 50 employees are
exempt from those rules, but in certain cases can receive tax credits if
they offer health insurance.

All states must operate an online health insurance exchange by Jan.
1, 2014, where small employers and uninsured individuals can buy health
plans and potentially qualify for tax credits or other assistance.
Oregon is one of the few states with federal approval to set up its own
exchange. The rest are either partnering with, or leaving it up to, the
federal government.

Cover Oregon, the quasi-public agency working
feverishly
  
adj.
1.
a. Of, relating to, or resembling a fever.

b. Having a fever or symptoms characteristic of a fever.

c. Causing or tending to cause fever.

2.
 to set up
Oregon’s health exchange by Oct. 1 – the federal deadline – is
spending $226 million in
federal funds

 to build and operate the
Web
portal

 in its first year.

Many details of the exchange, including the cost of the policies
that will be for sale there, still are being hammered out, however. And
little information about the exchange has been distributed widely, even
though deadlines are approaching fast.

KEY DATES

Important deadlines for health reform

Oct. 1: Cover Oregon, the state’s online health insurance
exchange, opens, and starts enrolling Oregonians in health plans to take
effect Jan. 1, 2014. Employers with less than 50 employees may use Cover
Oregon to buy health plans and check eligibility for tax credits.
Individuals buying coverage on their own can use the exchange to see if
they qualify for Medicaid, tax credits or other assistance, and to shop
for health plans.

Jan. 1, 2014: Oregonians who are offered health insurance through
their employer or who qualify for a government plan, such as Medicaid or
Medicare, must have insurance.

March 30, 2014: With some exceptions, Oregonians who do not have
health insurance through an employer or a government plan must enroll in
a health plan, or face a tax penalty of $95 or 1 percent of income,
whichever is higher. The penalty climbs to $325 in 2015 and $695 in
2016.

THE SERIES AT A GLANCE

TODAY: Individuals will be required to obtain health insurance, but
they will be offered some aid

Monday: Large employers face new requirements under health care
reform

Tuesday: Some small businesses see challenges ahead

Wednesday: Nonprofit organizations still will play a role after
health care reform