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Health Care Reform Frequently Asked Questions

The Employee Benefits and Services Division (EBSD) has developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to provide County of San Bernardino employees and retirees with helpful information regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also known as Health Care Reform. As more guidance is provided to employers, EBSD will update this webpage.

Select one of the topics below.

Health Care Reform and Public Insurance Marketplace FAQs – General

  1. What is a Health Insurance Marketplace?
  2. How much is the cost of a health plan under the Health Insurance Marketplace?
  3. What is meant by affordable coverage?
  4. What is meant by Minimum Value coverage? Does the County’s health insurance qualify as Minimum Value coverage?
  5. I have heard that Health Care Reform will pay a portion of my insurance if I go to the Health Insurance Marketplace. Is that true?

Health Care Reform and Public Insurance Marketplace FAQs - Active County Employees

  1. As an employee of the County, how does this affect me?
  2. I am NOT eligible to enroll in the County medical plans. Can I get coverage with the Health Insurance Marketplace?
  3. Can I opt out of County health insurance if I enroll in a plan with the Health Insurance Marketplace?

Health Care Reform and Public Insurance Marketplace FAQs - County COBRA Participants

  1. I am a former employee enrolled in COBRA coverage. Can I disenroll from the County COBRA plan and enroll in a plan with the Health Insurance Marketplace?
  2. If I disenroll from County COBRA during my eligibility period and I enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace, can I return to the County COBRA plan?
  3. If I’m enrolled in COBRA with family coverage and I want to enroll my dependents in the Health Insurance Marketplace, can I stay enrolled in COBRA as long as I am eligible?

Health Care Reform and Public Insurance Marketplace FAQs – County Retirees

  1. Will the County continue to offer retiree medical plans in 2014?
  2. I am a retiree enrolled in a County Retiree Non-Medicare plan. Can I disenroll from my current coverage and enroll in a plan with the Health Insurance Marketplace?
  3. I am a retiree enrolled I am a retiree enrolled in a County Retiree Medicare plan. Can I disenroll from my current coverage and enroll in a plan with the Health Insurance Marketplace?

Health Care Reform and Public Insurance Marketplace FAQs – General

  1. What is a Health Insurance Marketplace?
    Health Care Reform requires that the states either set up their own marketplace to offer health insurance or have one set up by the federal government. Marketplaces will provide a place where you can compare health plans and buy health insurance. California chose to set up its own Marketplace called Covered California.

    Covered California (http://www.coveredca.com/) is the State of California’s Marketplace where legal residents of California can buy affordable, high-quality health coverage. Covered California will conduct an Open Enrollment from October 2013 through March 2014, with coverage effective as early as January 2014.

    If you are a resident of Arizona, you can find information for your state on the Arizona Department of Insurance website (http://www.id.state.az.us/azhix-planning.html).

  2. How much is the cost of a health plan under the Health Insurance Marketplace?
    The cost of a health plan with the Marketplace will depend on the following:
    • Your household income
    • The level of coverage you need for you and/or your family
    • If you have health insurance from an employer or another government program
    • The plan you chose should you and/or your family enroll in a Marketplace plan
    These same factors may also determine whether you are eligible to receive a subsidy to help you pay for coverage.


  3. What is meant by affordable coverage?
    Medical coverage is affordable if your cost for Employee Only coverage does not exceed 9.5% of your income. Although family coverage might require a larger employee premium, affordability is based on the cost of Employee Only coverage.


  4. What is meant by Minimum Value coverage? Does the County’s health insurance qualify as Minimum Value coverage?
    A Minimum Value Plan is a plan that covers at least 60% of the total costs of benefits. The County’s health insurance plans meet the Minimum Value coverage standard.


  5. I have heard that Health Care Reform will pay a portion of my insurance if I go to the Health Insurance Marketplace. Is that true?
    Depending on your household size and income, you may be eligible for assistance. You may receive tax credits, cost-sharing subsidies or Medi-Cal assistance. If you already have affordable insurance from your employer or a government program, you may not be eligible for these cost-saving programs.

Health Care Reform and Public Insurance Marketplace FAQs - Active County Employees

  1. As an employee of the County, how does this affect me?
    The County medical plans meet the Health Care Reform’s Minimum Value and Affordability standards. If you are offered medical plan coverage from the County, you will not be eligible for a tax credit through the Marketplace. As a legal resident, any employee and/or their eligible dependents may consider health coverage options under Covered California since individual and family income and circumstances may vary and can change throughout the coming year.


  2. I am NOT eligible to enroll in the County medical plans. Can I get coverage with the Health Insurance Marketplace?
    You may be eligible for health coverage under Covered California. Visit http://www.coveredca.com/ for additional eligibility information.


  3. Can I opt out of County health insurance if I enroll in a plan with the Health Insurance Marketplace?
    The County is awaiting further guidance on this topic. This answer will be updated upon clarification.

Health Care Reform and Public Insurance Marketplace FAQs - County COBRA Participants

  1. I am a former employee enrolled in COBRA coverage. Can I disenroll from the County COBRA plan and enroll in a plan with the Health Insurance Marketplace?
    Yes you may consider Marketplace health insurance alternatives to COBRA. Subject to household income requirements, qualified beneficiaries may be eligible for tax credits, cost sharing subsidies or Medi-Cal assistance offered by the Marketplace.


  2. If I disenroll from County COBRA during my eligibility period and I enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace, can I return to the County COBRA plan?
    No. Once you terminate your COBRA coverage with the County of San Bernardino, you cannot re-enroll to complete your original eligibility period.


  3. If I’m enrolled in COBRA with family coverage and I want to enroll my dependents in the Health Insurance Marketplace, can I stay enrolled in COBRA as long as I am eligible?
    Yes. You may stay enrolled in COBRA and change your enrollment level. Contact EBSD at (909) 387-5787 for information on how to make a change.

Health Care Reform and Public Insurance Marketplace FAQs – County Retirees

  1. Will the County continue to offer retiree medical plans in 2014?
    Yes. The County will continue to offer the same medical carriers and corresponding benefit plans in 2014.


  2. I am a retiree enrolled in a County Retiree Non-Medicare plan. Can I disenroll from my current coverage and enroll in a plan with the Health Insurance Marketplace?
    As a retiree, you and/or eligible dependents may explore your options under the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can maintain your coverage in a County retiree health plan or consider enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace. You will need to compare benefit plan options, consider medical needs for you and/or your eligible dependents, and evaluate your household income and tax implications if any. Contact EBSD for information on how to make a change.


  3. I am a retiree enrolled in a County Retiree Medicare plan. Can I disenroll from my current coverage and enroll in a plan with the Health Insurance Marketplace?
    Medicare plans are not offered in the Health Insurance Marketplace, including Medigap and Part D drug plans.
If you have a question regarding Health Care Reform, please email the Employee Benefits and Services Division at ebsd@hr.sbcounty.gov or call us at (909) 387-5787.

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Employee Benefits & Services Division
157 West Fifth Street, First Floor | San Bernardino CA 92415-0440
Phone: (909) 387-5787 • Toll Free: (888) 743-1474 • Fax: (909) 387-5566

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