- Posted by Canopy
- On January 1, 2015
- 0 Comments
- healthcare.gov, kansas city, obamacare
When the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) was passed in 2010 it was done so amidst controversy, confusion and a lot of misinformation. Given that the final piece of legislation contained over 10,000 pages with over 100 regulations laid out, it’s not surprising the amount of misinformation the exists about “Obamacare.” In 2014, a majority of the provisions of the law were enacted, mainly applying to consumers buying health insurance direct (not covered through an employer plan). A blog is not an appropriate place to provide an in depth analysis of the entire law, but here’s what you should know about this healthcare reform legislation and how it affects you.
Healthcare.gov Plans in Kansas City
– Obamacare is NOT a type of insurance plan; the most common misconception we see from individual prospects that contact us for assistance is that many think Obamacare is an actual insurance plan. We hear “I don’t want the Obamacare plan” quite often. However, Obamacare is a piece of legislation that provides rules and regulations to the health insurance carriers, not an actual insurance plan. The carriers are required to design insurance plans that are Obamacare compatible and meet all the guidelines required by the law. So while you might be purchasing an Obamacare compatible plan, you will be purchasing that plan through the same health insurance carriers you would have shopped through in the past. Read here about choosing the right plan
– Guaranteed Issue Coverage; this is a big one. In the past, insurance carriers could decline applicants or increase rates based on health history and pre-existing health conditions. Under Obamacare, carriers are required to provide coverage to individuals purchasing a plan during the annual open enrollment period or during a special enrollment period and must do so with a published rate that is pre-determined and offered throughout the year. Individuals can buy these plans at the published rates with no exclusions or waiting periods and rates cannot be increased based on pre-existing conditions. In the past, carriers could change the rate on an applicant based on pre-existing health conditions, but now they are required to publish rates that will be in place for one full calendar year with no changes or adjustments.
– You will have to pay a fee to be uninsured; for the plan year 2014, the penalty in most cases is 1% of your household income. In some cases, the fee can be as low as $95 per adult or $47.50 per child, but for most, it’s 1%. In 2015, the penalty jumps to 2% and in 2016 it jumps to 2.5%. The fee will be assessed when you file your taxes for the year. Keep in mind, this strictly a monetary fee and paying the fee does not mean you are covered. You’re still uninsured and now you’re paying a fee to be uninsured.
– Age, Tobacco Use and Geographic Area determine rate; as we talked, about health conditions don’t determine your rate, but your age, whether or not you use tobacco and the geographic area you live in will determine your rate under Obamacare. Additionally, rates cannot be different for male and females (when age, tobacco use status and area are the same).
– Some people qualify for premium assistance on their health insurance plan; premium assistance is based on household income and if you qualify, your monthly premium will be lowered and in some cases, the benefits on your plan can be enhanced. The application process to determine subsidy eligibility can be a bit confusing so getting assistance from a licensed agent is strongly advised. To find out if you qualify for a subsidy, go here Subsidy Calculator.
Again, with 10,000 pages of legislation and over 100 regulations, pointing out five components only scratches the surface of the law. But knowing these five items is a great start and gives you more knowledge of the law than a majority of your fellow Americans possess. It’s still imperative to seek health insurance help in Kansas City by using health insurance agents in Kansas City. There are too many variables and too many moving parts to go it alone, especially when a mistake can cost you thousands of dollars. That’s why we strongly encourage everyone to seek out a licensed agent that can walk you through the process and ensure you are buying a plan that you understand and that suits your lifestyle.
Make sure to download our FREE Health Insurance Buying Checklist here before you get started shopping for health insurance coverage!