The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 19, 2013

Seminar to help explain health care law

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — A Nov. 14 presentation in Enid will help small businesses better understand coming changes in employee health insurance.

The health care reform seminar, sponsored by Central National Bank and Summit Financial Group, will be at noon at the Oakwood Country Club.

Kristy Pasby, investment officer with CNB, is coordinating the seminar.

“This is not political,” Pasby said. “This is strictly information about what’s up and coming and here’s how we can help.”

Pasby said experts from Summit Financial Group will talk about changes that are required in current health care plans and when those changes will come about.

Not all the answers are known yet, Pasby said.

Katie Klaudt, client services representative for Summit, said the information to be presented is aimed at small businesses that employ 50 or fewer. It is designed to help them understand what they need to do to be compliant with federal laws in 2014.

“All the carriers we’ve dealt with have had to make new plans and have them approved through the federal government,” Klaudt said.

For example, waiting periods for pre-existing conditions are going away, Klaudt said. Health plans must include coverage of “essential health benefits.” Waiting periods can no longer be over 90 days.

“Everything now is age-rated,” Klaudt said. “Age, tobacco use and geographic location are the three main things that affect rates.”

A 30-year-old non-tobacco user in Woodward would have a different rate than a 30-year-old non-tobacco user in Oklahoma City, Klaudt said.

Small businesses have several options they can take, Klaudt said. They can purchase group insurance through the state marketplace and, if they meet the requirements, get a tax subsidy to help defray the expense. Subsidies are not available outside the online marketplace.

“A small group employer could have a tax subsidy, but there are a lot of stipulations for the tax subsidy,” Klaudt said.

Although the seminar is designed for businesses, interested individuals can attend, Pasby said.

The seminar also will provide an opportunity for businesses to find out how their current insurance group compares.

“A lot of companies have gotten their renewal rates, and if they would like, they can get with us after the seminar and compare,” Klaudt said. “We would need to get some detailed information from them, but we could get that without a problem.”

For more information or to reserve a seat at the seminar, call Pasby at (580) 213-1615.