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5 things to know about health law and job benefits

  • Article by: CARLA K. JOHNSON
  • Associated Press
  • January 21, 2014 - 10:05 AM

Five things to know about how the health care overhaul affects people who get their insurance coverage through work.

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1. HOURS MATTER

The law requires companies with 50 or more workers to offer their full-time staff — defined as 30 hours a week or more — health insurance. That could cause some employers to cut hours for some workers.

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2. COSTS RISING

A tax on high-cost health plans begins in 2018, but many companies already are starting to trim benefits to ahead of the tax. That means higher out-of-pocket costs for workers. Combined with other taxes, fees and requirements, the health law could raise the total cost of an employer-sponsored plan from 1 to 5 percent.

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3. PREVENTIVE CARE MADE EASIER

Most health plans are required to cover several forms of preventive care without charging patients an upfront cost like a co-payment. That includes cholesterol tests, colonoscopies, vaccines and birth control.

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4. WHO'S COVERED?

The law may prompt some companies to drop coverage for their part-time workers and send them to public health insurance exchanges. Some businesses also may start excluding spouses from their coverage.

© 2014 Star Tribune