Health Care Reform
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) 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 2016, the penalty will be $695 per person or 2.5% of income, whichever is higher ($347.50 per child under 18).
Employer-sponsored health insurance, such as the medical coverage offered by Lowe’s, satisfies ACA’s coverage requirement. Certain government-sponsored coverage, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the CHIP program (Children’s Health Insurance Program), as well as qualifying individual coverage, will also satisfy the requirement for those who are eligible.
Lowe’s offers part-time health coverage that meets the minimum standard. Eligible part-time employees are able to enroll in the Preventive Plus Plan through UnitedHealthcare. The Preventive Plus Plan meets minimum essential coverage and will satisfy the individual ACA mandate.
However, these plans may not meet the minimum value standard. This means 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.
State and Federal Marketplaces
Like Lowe’s, the state and federal marketplaces have an Annual Enrollment window as well. 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. Qualified status changes for healthcare.gov are different from the qualified changes allowed by Lowe’s.
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.
Lowe’s Medical Coverage Considerations
If a Lowe’s employee does not enroll in coverage through Lowe’s before the 2016 Annual Enrollment deadline, they would need a qualified status change to be eligible for Lowe’s coverage after Annual Enrollment ends.
Lowe’s also offers a Fixed Indemnity Plan. This plan provides cash benefits to help cover the cost of hospital admission, hospital stays, and intensive care unit (ICU). However, this plan does not meet minimum essential coverage standards through the ACA. 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. Central Time, Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 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.
For additional information regarding Health Care Reform, please visit the following: