One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is to increase the number of people who have healthcare coverage. With the new law beginning to take effect, many people are concerned about finding a good healthcare provider within their insurance carrier's network. Unfortunately, retail workers may be affected more than those in other professions, making it imperative for them to research insurance plans and healthcare providers before making any decisions.
While the law affects all US citizens and employers, a recent article on Crain's Cleveland Business blog indicates that the retail industry is one of the top three industries to be affected by Obamacare. This is because the industry employs many low-wage workers who haven't been required to pay for healthcare coverage in the past. Additionally, while the new law requires employers with more than fifty full-time employees to provide health insurance for individuals who work thirty or more hours per week, the employer mandate doesn't take effect until 2015. Full-time retail workers who work for companies that don't currently offer insurance will therefore also experience a big financial impact.
In addition to these additional expenses, many companies throughout the retail industry have been cutting back hours, slashing benefits, and reclassifying full-time employees as part-time employees. Part-time workers are also limited to working twenty-eight hours per week, instead of the previous thirty-two hour industry standard, and some retailers such as Home Depot and Trader Joe's have stated that they are no longer offering health insurance to part-time employees. This leaves a lot of retail employees facing smaller paychecks and additional costs.
Companies are referring employees to the public healthcare exchanges so that they can find affordable insurance plans. However, many doctors and hospitals are not in Obamacare networks, making it hard for retail workers to find good healthcare providers. This is because insurers are doing their best to minimize exposure by creating a small network of doctors and hospitals whose services they will reimburse. In order to find a good healthcare provider, retail employees need to review each insurance plan's rates, out-of-pocket expenses, and network before they choose a policy.
If you already have a healthcare provider that you like, it's important to make sure your doctor is in your new insurance plan's network; otherwise, you'll have to pay cash every time you go to that doctor. If you don't currently have a healthcare provider, you want to make sure the plan you choose covers doctors close to your home or work. You can also read online reviews for in-network doctors and ask around for local opinions of various doctors before you decide who your primary healthcare provider will be.
Many retail employees will have to pay for their own health insurance, so it's important to choose a plan that fits your needs. If you make sure that your plan's network includes at least one healthcare provider that you're comfortable with, you're more likely to get the most out of your new coverage.
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