Health Care Reform

The Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as “Health Care Reform”) that was passed in 2010 is intended to extend access to medical coverage to nearly everyone in the U.S., eliminate restrictions on key benefits, and help control the country’s rising health costs.

The ACA requires that Bennington College provide you with the New Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage Options and Your Health Coverage. This notice describes the new health insurance marketplaces. A “health insurance marketplace” is an online, government-sponsored public shopping site where you can buy health insurance. The notice also describes how Bennington College’s medical plans meet ACA affordability and benefits requirements/standards. This is important information to remember as you begin learning more about the health insurance marketplace and who is eligible to purchase coverage in the marketplace. Please read the following carefully, as well as this notice.

What the ACA Means for You

Effective January 1, 2014, the ACA requires that almost all U.S. citizens obtain basic medical coverage or pay a penalty when filing their federal income tax returns (this requirement is also referred to as the individual mandate). In order to meet the individual mandate, you have several options:

  • Employer Coverage: If you’re eligible for medical coverage through Bennington College and you enroll in one of our medical plans, you’ll meet the individual mandate. That’s because Bennington College offers medical coverage that meets certain ACA requirements/standards. If you’re not eligible for the College’s medical plan, you can also consider coverage through a plan offered by your spouse or partner’s employer, or your parent’s employer, if available.
  • Government Sponsored Programs: If you meet certain age, disability, income or other qualifications, you may be eligible for a U.S. government funded medical program, such as Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, or TRICARE. Find out if you qualify for Medicare or Medicaid at Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website.
  • Health Insurance Marketplace or Individual Market: This notice provides more information about the health insurance marketplaces. In general, there will be three or four different levels of health insurance to choose from—each with different levels of cost sharing. Unless you qualify for a subsidy, you’ll pay for 100% of your premiums when you enroll in a marketplace plan. You can visit the federal government’s health care website for a list of the available federal and state marketplaces and to see if you qualify for a subsidy. You may also satisfy the individual mandate by purchasing a health plan in the individual market. 
  • Other Health Coverage:You can satisfy the individual mandate if you are eligible for other health benefits coverage that the Department of Health and Human Services recognizes such as a state health benefits risk pool.
  • No Coverage: You also have the option to not have any health insurance. However, if you choose to be uninsured, you will pay a tax penalty when you file your taxes. (To determine your potential tax penalty, go to

For More Information

More information about the ACA and the health insurance marketplaces is available on the federal government’s website. In addition, you can find specific information about health insurance marketplaces in Vermont by visiting Vermont Health Connect.

For more information about the coverage offered by Bennington College, please check your summary plan description or contact

We encourage you to consider all of your options carefully to make the best decision about medical care for you and your family.