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Obamacare could affect your employer's health coverage options

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WESTMORELAND, TN (WSMV) -

While the Obama administration said people who already have health insurance they like won't see any changes under the Affordable Care Act, that's not true for everyone.

Many workers who get health insurance from their employer are preparing to enroll in their health coverage plan for the next year.

Providing health insurance to employees is expensive, and some companies can only afford to offer a bare-bones policy - maybe one that doesn't cover much.

Those plans are going away next year.

The Rev. John Racioppa of Westmoreland First Baptist Church said he believed what he first heard about the Affordable Care Act.

"[They said] 'Hey, if you've got insurance, this does not apply to you.' But it does," Racioppa said.

He learned that difference when he read a letter from his insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield.

"Basically, we were going to have to increase our coverage," Racioppa said.

His current plan is being dropped because it doesn't meet new standards under the new federal rules. It's a high-deductible plan with limited benefits but at a great price tag: about $370 a month for his family of five.

His family is one of thousands across the state who must now shop for new coverage that could very well be more expensive.

Here are some of the changes to employer coverage that almost every plan has to meet:

  • Your plan now covers preventive services, like screenings and flu shots at no charge.
  • Your plan cannot set an annual dollar limit on your benefits.
  • Your plan cannot limit coverage of pre-existing conditions.
  • Your plan cannot limit the total-dollar amount of benefits you receive over your lifetime.
  • And cost-sharing, like deductibles and co-pays, are capped at $6,350 per person per year. That takes full effect in 2015.

Racioppa's church serves a population he expects will benefit from the Affordable Care Act, so he sees both sides.

"The people that are OK with the plan that they have, and have no problem with it, they ought to just leave them alone," Racioppa said.

On the plus side, Racioppa's family might qualify for the insurance exchange - that federal marketplace. Families that are eligible because of their income could also qualify for a subsidy to help pay their premium.

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