Health Care Reform
The Affordable Care Act requires most individuals in the United States (including children) to have some form of qualifying health insurance or pay a penalty in the form of a tax.
In 2014, the penalty is $95.00 per person or 1% of income, whichever is higher. ($47.50 for a child).
In 2015, the penalty will be $325 per person or 2% of income, whichever is higher. ($162.50 for a child).
Employer-sponsored health insurance, such as the medical coverage offered by Lowe’s, will satisfy this coverage requirement. Certain government-sponsored coverage, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the CHIP program (Children’s Health Insurance Program) will also satisfy the requirement for those who are eligible. Qualifying individual coverage will also count.
Lowe’s offers health coverage that meets the minimum standard. Part-time employees are able to enroll in a Preventive or Preventive Plus plan. The Preventive and Preventive Plus plans both meet minimum essential coverage and will satisfy the individual mandate.
However, these plans may not meet the minimum value standard and therefore part-time employees could still be eligible for a subsidy if they choose to enroll in the state or federal marketplace. Please see the medical page for more information about these plans.
The state and federal marketplaces have an annual enrollment window as well. The next annual enrollment window will be in the fall of 2014. Please note that outside of this annual enrollment window, the only time employees can enroll in the state or federal marketplace is with a healthcare.gov qualified status change. Please note that the qualified status changes for healthcare.gov are different from the qualified changes allowed by Lowe’s.
If a Lowe’s employee does not enroll in coverage through Lowe’s before the 2015 Annual Enrollment deadline, they would need a qualified status change to be eligible for Lowe’s coverage after Annual Enrollment ends.
There will be an additional benefit option available during 2015 Annual Enrollment, the Fixed Indemnity Plan. This plan provides cash benefits to help cover the cost of common medical services, such as ER visits, x-rays, hospital visits, and other services. However, this plan does not meet minimum essential coverage standards through the Affordable Care Act. If a part-time employee enrolls in ONLY the Fixed Indemnity plan and has no other qualifying health coverage, they will be subject to the individual mandate penalty.
We encourage employees to visit Lowe’s benefits website, mylowesbenefits.com, for more information.
Lowe’s has also provided an additional resource through GoHealth, an insurance exchange information provider, which can help part-time employees understand the new plans and their options for coverage. Part-time employees can contact GoHealth at 1-855-414-6191 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, to discuss Lowe’s new medical plans and the qualified status changes that may allow them to enroll in the federal or state marketplaces. If they wish to enroll in the marketplace, GoHealth can assist them by phone or at this link.
Please see the Health Insurance Marketplace Notice for additional information regarding the marketplace, eligibility rules for Lowe’s benefits, and most details employees will need to assist with their application. Please also review the Health Care Reform frequently asked questions.
If you have visited the Healthcare.gov website and received an Employer Coverage Tool to prepare for your marketplace application, please click here. You will be directed to a list of completed forms based on your employment status and location. You can then select the form that applies to you and print a copy for your records.
For additional information regarding Health Care Reform, please visit the following: