Depending on whom you ask, the one-year delay in implementing a key provision of the federal health care reform law, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), is a cause of concern for many U.S. employers and employees.
What is the outlook for Rensselaer? The good news is that Rensselaer will only make limited changes to our health plans, and has grandfathered our health plans. These efforts will allow the Institute to continue to provide the comprehensive and affordable medical and prescription coverage that is currently offered to our employees and retirees.
Please keep in mind that even though our plan is grandfathered, most requirements of the PPACA will still apply to our health plans. Some requirements include: covering children with pre-existing health conditions and dependents up to age 26, eliminating lifetime limits on coverage, and implementing preventive services for women with no copayments.
According to a recent Open Enrollment Survey conducted for AFLAC that involved more than 2,000 U.S. consumers, a large number of American workers remain unaware of, confused about, and unprepared for looming changes to their benefits coverage.
The survey revealed that 74 percent of workers sometimes or never understand everything that is covered by their insurance policy. In addition, nearly 37 percent think it will be more difficult to understand everything in their health care policy after it incorporates the required health care reform changes. The survey also noted that nearly 28 percent are confused, worried, or simply unsure about the changes their employer is making to their health care coverage or benefits options due to health care reform.
To date, the Rensselaer medical plan exceeds federal government standards for eligibility, spouse coverage, same-sex partners, affordability, single coverage, and minimum value of the PPACA requirements.
In the coming months, the Division of Human Resources will begin communicating specific information regarding the Rensselaer health and welfare benefits, and new initiatives planned for next year. If you are interested in learning more about the New York State of Health program, please visit their website at nystateofhealth.ny.gov or call (855) 355-5777.
To learn more about the health, prescription, dental, life insurance, long-term care, and many other great benefits that Rensselaer provides, we encourage individuals to attend the Annual Benefits Fair and Faculty/Staff Appreciation event that will be held on Nov. 1, which will provide you with an opportunity to meet our vendors and members of the Division of Human Resources team.
Curtis Powell, SPHR
Vice President for Human Resources