Richard Albertoni, a consultant for the Delaware Healthcare Commission, spoke to members of the Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce during their monthly luncheon at the CHEER Center about what the commission is doing to set up the healthcare exchanges and implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") in Delaware.
Albertoni says unlike in other states, where the setup of the insurance exchanges are behind schedule, Delaware's insurance exchanges will be ready to go on October 1. He explained to business owners how the insurance exchanges will work for them. The Healthcare Commission has set up the Small Business Health Insurance Options Program (SHOP) Exchange. Businesses with fewer than 25 full-time employees that make less than $50,000 a year are eligible for tax credits for providing health insurance coverage to their employees. Businesses with less than 10 full-time employees who make less than $25,000 a year can get larger tax credits for providing health insurance to their employees. Eligibility for tax credits is determined through tools that are available from the IRS, and businesses have to get their plans through SHOP. Employers are also required to notify their employees about the exchanges.
Albertoni also showed the IRS form that people will have to fill out and file with their income tax returns to prove they have health insurance (the individual mandate) starting next year. He explained that while two-thirds of the states are allowing the federal government to run their insurance exchanges, Delaware is one of 10 states who are using a "partnership" model with the federal government, where the states take the federal funding, and then run their own exchanges. Albertoni says Delaware chose this option because of the state's small expected marketplace enrollment plans. Plans for enrollment will be set by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner this fall.
Under the law, insurance premiums will be set based on four factors: a person's age, tobacco use, where they live, and the size of the person's household. Albertoni explained that Delaware will be considered one distinct region. Tobacco users can be charged up to a 50 percent surchage on their policies. In response to a question from the audience, Albertoni says people who choose not to get a health insurance policy and pay the fine won't have a lien placed on their assets by the IRS. The penalty will be based on their taxable income.
Return to: WGMD Local News Blog