Understanding ObamaCare

Here is some information to help you navigate Obamacare.

1 – Does your current health insurance plan need to change?

If you have a grandfathered plan your going to be able to keep your plan (as long as the health insurance company you have your grandfathered plan with allows you to do so).

If you have what they call a “transitional plan” you’ll be able to keep that plan until your renewal date in 2014.  Once your renewal date hits in 2014, you will then be required to buy a plan that meets all of the essential health benefits.

If you buy a plan with an effective date of January 1, 2014, that plan will meet requirements.

2 – How will you pay for your health insurance in 2014?

Depending on your household income, you may be able to qualify for payment assistance that make insurance more affordable.  The only way you can obtain assistance, is if you purchase your plan from either the state or federal exchange.  If you buy a plan “off exchange” you will not received payment assistance or special discounts.

3 – What is the difference between on and off exchange plans?

In my opinion, the only reason you would go to either the state or federal marketplace (the government prefers this word, but it’s the fancy word for exchange) is if you qualify for payment assistance.  If your income is over the assistance limit, then going off exchange is the way to go.  I say this because you won’t have to prove your income, and answer all of the questions that the state and federal government require from you.

For example, here in Kentucky, Humana offers some plans that aren’t available on the state exchange.  These plans have a more comprehensive network, then the current on exchange plans have.

4 – What type of plans are available?

Networks, co-payments, deductibles, and out of pockets differ between all the carriers.  You must decide for yourself what is most important to you, and then work with an agent or broker (Zinser Benefit Service, Inc. would be one) who should be able to guide you to the right plan.

5 – When can you buy coverage?

The new open enrollment period for a January 1, 2014 effective date started in Oct 2013 and ends on December 23rd 2013.  Once this date passes, you’ll have dates similar all the way up through March of 2014.  If you miss during this time, you will have to have a qualifying event in order to enroll in a plan during 2014.  A qualifying event would be any of the following:

  • Loss of essential health coverage
  • Change of family structure – gain or become a dependent because of a marriage, death, birth, or adoption of a child
  • Change of citizenship status
  • Government error
  • Change in subsidy eligibility – so if you make more money or lose some of your income, this could trigger a qualifying event
  • Move to a new coverage area – state, county, etc.

This is just a brief overview.  I hope it helps!

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