Clients and friends,

Health care reform will bring several new layers of complexity to an already complex and confusing ‘system’.  It will affect everyone:  the uninsured, insured individuals, and employer groups of all sizes.  As government agencies, both state and federal, move toward implementation, the rules change.  At Yorke Benefit Services we are following these developments closely.  Our role has always been to simplify and assist you through this complexity.  You will need a good service oriented agent more than ever in this new environment.

Oregon’s health insurance exchange, Cover Oregon, plans to begin enrolling October 1 for coverage effective January 1, 2014.  Cover Oregon and health insurance exchanges across the country, will create a new marketplace to buy health insurance for individuals and employer groups with less than 50 employees.  Subsidies/tax credits will be available to households below 400% of the federal poverty level (about $92,000 for a family of four) who purchase through Cover Oregon.  The current market for health insurance will continue to operate outside Cover Oregon; however, benefits will still be affected.  I have seen a lot of messages in the media about ‘employer penalties’ if you do not offer ‘affordable’ health insurance to your employees.  If you have less than 50 employees, you can relax.  None of the employer penalties apply to you.  The only compliance issue you need to address is to notify your employees in writing that Cover Oregon (the health insurance exchange) will soon be available.  We can supply you with model language for that notice upon request.  The original deadline was March 31, but it has been postponed to October 1.

Important decisions loom for employers.  January 1, 2014 will usher in the most dramatic changes under the 2010 ‘Affordable Care Act’ (Obamacare).  There are opportunities for win/wins, but it will take planning.  I plan to meet with all my clients before October 1.  I hope my services now and in the future will continue to merit your trust, confidence, and good will.


Todd Yorke, LUTCF