By Christy Abend
The open enrollment deadline for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been extended to January 15 for coverage beginning February 1. After January 15, individuals may only enroll in or change plans if they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. For Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) with non-benefits eligible employees who don’t already obtain coverage elsewhere, it could be important to encourage them to apply for coverage through the ACA marketplace, if they haven’t already. Why?
Having health insurance coverage protects against potentially catastrophic financial losses in the event of a major illness or accident. Without insurance protection, the average trip to an emergency room can cost anywhere from $650 to more than $3,000, depending on where in the country you live. Those costs do not include any necessary follow-up care.
Free or affordable preventative health services can help improve health equity and can improve chronic disease and cancer care outcomes. Uninsured patients generally have more negative health outcomes and have been found to be more likely to die prematurely, in large part due to delayed diagnosis.
Health insurance can lead to more positive mental health due to lower stress and anxiety and higher rates of diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions.
When a child or children have health insurance coverage, it has beneficial effects on their parent(s) – reducing smoking and alcohol consumption and improving financial stability.
Healthier employees are happier and more productive employees. When employees address health issues preventatively and proactively, employee productivity increases while absenteeism is reduced.
The benefits of individuals having health insurance coverage are well documented.
While ALEs may not be able to offer employer-provided benefits across the board to every single employee, those who are non-benefits eligible should be reminded about the upcoming ACA open enrollment deadline and encouraged to apply. Employers may also consider offering guidance on how to apply and maintain a presence for answering questions to help ensure employees can complete their application.
Find more information on Affordable Care Act Management and assistance from Equifax Workforce Solutions.
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