Health Care Changes in 2013

 

Next year will be an important year in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). While many of the most significant changes won’t go into effect until 2014, next year will see a number of key changes for employees and employers.

Tom Richards, Cigna’s President in charge of reform recently told the Wall Street Journal “This year’s fall enrollment is really the calm before the storm of health-plan reform that will come in 2014.” Some of the biggest changes in 2013:

Easy to Read Summaries

The most noticeable change in 2013 will be the inclusion of a new easy to read “Summary of Benefits” statement mandated by the new law. This summary is intended to be a simplified description of your plan with no fine print allowed. Every plan is now required to have a summary and must enable participants to easily compare plans side by side.

FSA Limits

Beginning in 2013, the amount that can put into a flexible spending account will be capped at $2,500. Previously the limits were set by the employer. Although the amount will be capped next year, you will still have to use the full amount for out of pocket expenses such as co-pays and prescriptions by the end of the year.

Spending Caps

Annual limits on how much an insurer will pay for care will be increasing in 2013 to $2 million from $1.25 million this year. This is good news for those patients with expensive conditions and treatments.

Higher Premiums

Finally, according to benefits consultant Towers Watson employees will likely be paying higher premiums in 2013. Thirteen percent of companies plan to increase their employees’ contribution rates 5% or more and 42% plan premium increases.

Most experts agree that the health care landscape is unlikely to change quickly. If Obama wins in November, the changes will remain in effect. If Romney prevails, he will face an uphill battle repealing the law with the Senate projected to remain in Democratic control.