Despite the government shut down, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) begins to go into effect today, October 1. Church Pension Group and Episcopal Church Health Ministries have some helpful information.
The Episcopal Church Health Ministries offers some advice to churches assisting people with enrollment and questions.
Many of our ministries come into contact with those likely to be uninsured. Food pantries and other ministries that serve the homeless or working poor will have the opportunity to identify many who need help accessing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Here is how your ministry can help:
Know what's happening: Do you know the significance of October 1, January 1, and March 31? Do you understand the basics of the Affordable Care Act? Do you know where to find additional help?
Make a plan: How involved do you want to be? Consider one of the scenarios below and how your ministry might participate.
Offer help: Do not assume that no one in your parish or community needs this information. People can lack health insurance for many reasons and it is not always clear who needs the information. At a minimum, commit to providing information and knowing where to direct people for more help. Really stuck? See our ACA page ... to catch up on the latest information and best resources.
The Church Pension Group offers advice to churches with employees:
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), all employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act are required by the Department of Labor (DOL) to provide a notice to each of their employees no later than October 1, 2013 describing the healthcare coverage that will be available through the ACA's Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace).
More information from the Church Pension Fund can be found here.
To assist employers with the notification process, the DOL has issued two Model Notices – one for employers that offer health coverage and one for employers that do not offer health coverage.
If you are participating in the Denominational Health Plan (DHP), you can download the Notice by going to the Church Pension Group (CPG) website. This form has been pre-populated with employee and dependent eligibility for Medical Trust coverage.
There you will also find the following additional materials that you may find useful:
Instructions for completing the Model Notice
FAQs that you can use when giving the Notice to your employees (Non-DHP employers may find these FAQs helpful, too.)
A Health Benefits Waiver form that employees who are required to participate in the DHP must complete before purchasing coverage through the Marketplace. Note: There are various financial considerations that an employee should understand before proceeding so we strongly recommend that you contact your diocesan office before an employee completes this form.
Employers not participating in the DHP but providing healthcare benefits through another source can download the Model Notice prepared by the DOL.
Employers not providing any healthcare benefits can download the Model Notice prepared by the DOL
The CPG has been holding informational sessions for bishops and diocesan administrators to keep everyone prepared. What is your church doing to assist people? Have you informed church employees or if you are an employee were you informed? Did you receive information from your diocese?
Below are videos explaining the ACA:
The Kaiser Foundation offers this video explaining the ACA: