Can I still use my agent to purchase health insurance?
Absolutely. It would be foolish not to use an agent. The complexity of health insurance plans is often underestimated so having a trained professional walk you through the buying process is the only way to go.
I don’t want “Obamacare”. What can I buy?
First off, “Obamacare” isn’t a type of plan, it’s a law that governs the delivery of health insurance in the United States. Health Insurance plans are still offered through insurance companies but benefits are mandated and regulated by the Obamacare law. Individual and small group (groups with less than 50 employees) plans purchased with an effective date of 1/1/14 or after are all Obamacare regulated plans.
I don’t want to go through the government website that I hear about. Do I have to?
The Government website is called “The Marketplace” or “The Exchange” and in short, no, you do not have to use it to buy a health insurance plan. If you are eligible for a premium subsidy and want to take advantage of the subsidy, you have to buy through the Marketplace, but otherwise you can use any number of different outlets to buy a plan.
What is the Marketplace?
Also known as “The Exchange” the federally facilitated Marketplace is a government run website that provides information about the healthcare law and allows people to purchase health insurance plans on their own (not recommended).
Is this the only place I can buy insurance?
No this isn’t the only place. Your agent can help walk you identify the appropriate outlet from which to buy a plan.
Why can’t I purchase a policy any time I want?
Obamacare mandates that people only have the opportunity to purchase coverage once per year, during an open enrollment period that takes place at the end of one calendar year and usually extends a couple of months into the next year. The only exception to this rule is if you have a qualifying life event where coverage is affected (ie: loss of coverage through an employer, divorce, death, birth of a child, etc.)
What is this “open enrollment” I hear about?
Open enrollment is the time period in which individuals are allowed to buy a new individual health insurance coverage or change their existing coverage. In 2014, open enrollment ran from 11/15/14 through 2/15/15.
If I miss open enrollment, what do I do?
If you don’t purchase a qualified health insurance plan during open enrollment and remain uninsured, you will have to pay a tax penalty when you file your taxes for the year. In terms of coverage, you can purchase a short-term medical policy to cover you until the next open enrollment. But again, a short-term policy will NOT defer the tax penalty for not carrying qualified health insurance.
I thought insurance was supposed to be free?
In some rare instances, people can qualify for $0 health insurance based on income and subsidy eligibility results. In most cases, there will be a premium for health insurance though many people are eligible for reduced premium from government subsidies.
I have heard about subsidies and tax credits. How do I apply?
The Federal Marketplace is the only way to find out if you’re eligible. Use an agent and go through healthcare.gov to find out about your subsidy eligibility. The application will involve providing demographic information, dependent status and income information to determine subsidy eligibility.
How do I qualify?
Subsidy eligibility is based on income and the number of dependents you have. A Canopy agent can help you determine your eligibility in a few minutes.
Should I stay on my group employer plan?
If your employer pays for a portion of your premium, then in all likelihood, your group plan will be your best option. In some rare instances, people might qualify for lower cost coverage away from their employer plan. A Canopy agent will be able to help you determine if your group plan is your best option.
Do my children have to be in school to qualify for the age 26 dependent limiting age?
No. Children can stay on a parent’s health insurance plan to age 26 regardless of school status or even employment status.