Niagara Gazette — A public forum on the Affordable Care Act is being held from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls, 101 Old Falls St.
The forum is being presented by members of the Bene-Care Agency and hosted by the Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce. All Individuals and businesses with questions about upcoming health care reform changes are encouraged to attend this free forum to have their questions answered.
“As we all begin to navigate the waters of the Affordable Care Act, the new regulations for health insurance established by the state and federal governments, the tide is high and the water is murky,” said Candra Thomason, director of the Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce. “Those of us who continue to receive health insurance coverage through our employers are swimming just fine so far, while sole proprietors and individuals are more than likely worrying and taking on water.”
Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act requires all individuals to maintain health insurance coverage, with minimum essential benefits, Thomason added. The insurance carriers are redesigning all of their plans to include these minimum essential benefits as described by the ACA.
Going forward, there will be two classifications for coverage: Individual and Small Group. This coverage can be purchased either through the NYS Health Exchange (otherwise known as The Marketplace), or through a benefit administrator.
Individuals, however, must go through an Exchange. An individual is defined as anyone who may not have employer group coverage available and all people previously considered sole proprietors. This also includes an individual who “employs” only their spouse. Spouses are not considered “employees” and therefore must now enroll as an individual. Some individuals may be eligible for an advanced premium tax credit.
Locally, the Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce is working with its partner, Bene-Care Agency, and is helping employer groups and sole proprietors find the right solutions. This meeting will provide a little more insight on the Individual Exchange, how sole proprietors will be impacted, the group exchange and what small business will need to do come Jan. 1.
Forum guests are invited to stay for as long as their schedule allows. For more information, or to RSVP for the event, contact Thomason at 870-5965 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Sam Archie, president, at 940-5238.