December 4, 2023

Will Maryland’s ACA Response Leave You Needing More?

Posted by Judith Sterling
Pax IIMaryland State House

Maryland budget officials are grappling with new provisions for employee medical benefits under the federal health reform laws, as they try to determine how many state employees will qualify for medical coverage and how much those ACA provisions will cost the state.

The provisions could cost the state as much as $88 million or as little as $20 million, according to an analysis by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services. The analysis was presented recently to the Maryland Senate’s Budget & Taxation Committee as it explores requirements under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).

DLS reports the $20 million figure would apply if the state decides to pay a penalty in lieu of subsidizing coverage for new employees.

Large employers must offer health insurance coverage to workers or pay a penalty under President Obama’s landmark legislation. This provision has been postponed for another year but remains in the law.

The amount Maryland will have to bear hinges upon the number of eligible workers the state employs, which may be difficult to determine because of how Maryland tracks part-time and seasonal workers, according to the analysis.

The Department of Budget & Management will conduct an analysis to determine how many workers qualify and the cost of different options.

Currently, contractors can enroll in the state plan but are not eligible for subsidies. Under ACA, the state will be required to subsidize those who join the state plan, or pay a penalty in lieu of subsidies.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, the ACA will require all employers with 50 or more employees to subsidize health care for those who work at least 30 hours a week, or pay a penalty of $2,000 – $3,000 per employee. Employee contributions to health coverage cannot exceed 9.5% of earnings.

For those whose employers opt to pay the penalty, other options are available. Private insurance providers offer a wide range of coverage options for every budget. Ms. Sterling invites you to “stop by” her Nationwide agency. “We’d be happy to give you a quote. Or we’ve got lots of free information. We’re located in downtown Great Mills.”

SOURCE: Insurance & Financial Advisor

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