HEALTHCARE REFORM AND LACERA
AFFECT OF HEALTHCARE REFORM ON THE LACERA-ADMINISTERED RETIREE HEALTHCARE BENEFITS PROGRAM
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or ACA for short), also known as “healthcare reform,” was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. It is important to understand your LACERA-administered retiree healthcare benefits will continue; there are no changes at this time.
Several key provisions of the ACA, including the requirement for most Americans to have health insurance, take effect January 1, 2014. In conjunction with the law, insurance exchanges, which are online marketplaces where Americans will be able to buy health insurance, become available October 1st. More about insurance exchanges.
We are committed to keeping our members updated on how the ACA will affect their LACERA-administered retiree healthcare benefits in the future, as some ACA provisions will not become effective for a few years. The information presented here reflects the most recently-issued government guidelines. We will provide additional updates as further regulations and policies are developed.
EXEMPTIONS FOR RETIREE-ONLY PLANS
The ACA makes a distinction between healthcare plans (such as LACERA-administered retiree plans) that only cover retirees and don’t cover active employees. Retiree-only plans are exempt from certain ACA provisions.Based on this exemption, the following ACA provisions DO NOT apply to LACERA-administered healthcare plans:
- Coverage of eligible dependent children (whether employed, married, or a full-time student) until their 26th birthday, provided they don't have access to other coverage through their employers.
- Elimination of lifetime limits on coverage.
CONTRACT BETWEEN LACERA AND LOS ANGELES COUNTY
In addition, implementation of the above ACA provisions would violate the terms of a contract between the County of Los Angeles and LACERA.
Under a 1982 contract between the County and LACERA, LACERA has a fiduciary duty to protect and maintain the level of benefits available at the time the contract was signed. This means unless a benefit change is legislatively mandated or approved by the County Board of Supervisors, we are prohibited from changing (reducing or enhancing) plan benefits.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For questions regarding the impact of the ACA, call LACERA at 800-786-6464 and press 1 to speak with a Retiree Healthcare Benefits Specialist, or email Retiree Healthcare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about national healthcare reform, visit healthcare.gov, managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.