President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, followed by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 on March 30, 2010.
These laws, collectively known as health-care reform, are broad in scope and will affect many aspects of health insurance in the United States over the next few years. The first stages go into effect on or before Jan. 1, 2011, and Benefits Manager Martin Mastascusa offers the following overview of the provisions that will directly impact College plans on or before that date.
- Extension of medical coverage to children through the age of 26. This provision goes into effect on the first plan anniversary six months after enactment on March 23, 2010, which on the College plans is Nov. 1, 2010. As of this date all children will be eligible for medical coverage independent of student status until their 26th birthdays. Anyone who has a child who is not currently eligible may add the newly eligible child to the College plan during the Flexible Benefit Plan Open Enrollment in September. Since student status is no longer a criterion for medical plan participation, Independence Blue Cross will no longer be performing checks for student status.Not all aspects of health-care reform have been clarified, and it is Delta Dental’s current interpretation that the legislation does not apply to free-standing dental plans. Unless I am advised otherwise, the current eligibility rules for dependent children on the College dental plan will remain unchanged. Dental coverage for dependent children will continue through the end of the year in which the child turns age 19, or through the end of the year in which the child turns age 25 if a full-time student. If you insure a child with Delta Dental who will be finishing college this month, please be advised that coverage will terminate as of May 31, 2010. If your child wants to continue dental coverage through COBRA, he or she may elect to do so within 60 days following the date of termination.
- Expansion of medical care spending account coverage to children under the age of 27. On April 27 the IRS clarified that effective March 30, 2010, employees may claim eligible expenses under a flexible spending account that are incurred by adult children who are under the age of 27 as of the end of the calendar year. The definition includes a son, daughter, stepchild or legally adopted child, regardless of whether the child is a dependent for tax purposes. This will permit a life status change for any eligible employee who has an adult child who was previously not eligible and is now eligible based on the new definition. If you are making such a life status change, please come to Human Resources to complete a new Flexible Spending Account Election Form by Friday, May 28, 2010.
- Elimination of over-the-counter drug reimbursement through the medical care spending account. Effective Jan. 1, 2011, over-the-counter medications will no longer be eligible for reimbursement under the medical care spending account. Certain over-the-counter products that are not drugs or medicine are still reimbursable; I will provide information on what will and will not be covered starting next year during the Flexible Spending Account Open Enrollment in November. Please note that this will also affect any 2010 balance incurred during the Jan. 1, 2011 through March 15, 2011 grace period. If you made your 2010 election based on an expectation of using over-the-counter medications, please make those purchases on or before Dec. 31, 2010.
Please call Marty at extension 5266 or send an e-mail if you have any questions.