Healthcare Series

What does the ACA mean for people in Wisconsin who already have health insurance?

CREATED Dec. 6, 2013

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Getting a handle on healthcare - all this week, and next, we're airing a series of reports at 7:41 in the morning and 5:11 in the afternoon.  Right now we focus on what Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, will mean for folks in Wisconsin who already have health insurance.  

MILWAUKEE - For people in Wisconsin who have health insurance already, things won't change much according to one local expert.
 
"We're not going to be effected directly.  Most of us, about two-thirds of the people in the state, have insurance through our employers and generally speaking, that's going to stay the same," says Jon Peacock, Research Director of the Wisconsin Council on Children & Families.
 
Peacock adds that some people will have policies dropped or spouses booted from corporate coverage but insurers and companies have always had the option to change coverage levels.  
 
He says, "It's part of a trend and I think it's easier for employers to rationalize because of the options that will be available next year under the federal law."
 
The reason the healthcare law is taking the rap for some people's policies being canceled Peacock says, is because the law includes what are known as 10 essential health benefits.
 
He went on to explain, "The idea was to make it easier for people to comparison shop, knowing that although they have some latitude in terms of what plan they were going to get, that all the plans would at least cover those ten, um, essential benefits."
 
Another concept in the ACA will effect people who have really deluxe coverage right now.  It's being called the Cadillac Tax.
 
Peacock says, "Starting in 2018 there will be a federal tax imposed upon those plans."  
 
Peacock says that's prompting some employers to cut back on coverage or increase the amount that workers must contribute in the form of premiums.  But he says the trend of companies requiring workers to pay more in premiums and co-pays is nothing new.