GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- Parts of the Affordable Care Act are starting to take effect, which means employees are learning of the changes that will impact them and of course their wallets.
If you print out and stack up the Affordable Care Act, it's about as thick as five phone books. With that being said, within those pieces of paper are some major changes for area county employees.
Marshall County is one of the local government organizations that is covered by a state insurance plan. Officials say many local government entities are covered by it. County Commission Chair James Hutcheson says because it's through the state, that means the Affordable Care Act directly affects it. "What it does, it mandates what the state has to do, what the Blue Cross has to do within the state," Hutcheson says.
Since the Act requires the company to raise the limits on some aspects of the policy it costs the insurance company more money. "So what the insurance company has to do is pass its costs onto the people they provide it for - the county employees," Hutcheson says.
County employee premiums won't be changing at all. However, the costs that are changing are significant. Hutcheson says the biggest change is the out-of-pocket maximums.
Last year the individual out-of-pocket maximums were one thousand dollars. In 2014 it will jump to more than six thousand dollars. For family out-of-pocket maximums, that number will double to more than 12 thousand dollars.
Inpatient hospital deductibles and emergency room copays will both increase by one hundred dollars.
"So this is a major increase employees will see, especially if they use a lot of drugs," Hutcheson says.
He says when the county switched to this plan a few years ago it was and still is the best plan they could go with.
This all goes into effect at the start of of the year.