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5 Health Care Reform FAQs

Posted by on Sep 13, 2013 in Blog |

Love it or loathe it, the Affordable Care Act has many Americans scratching their heads and asking, “What will it mean for me?” About two-thirds of the uninsured polled said they don’t understand how the health care reform law, commonly known as Obamacare, will impact them, says the Kaiser Family Foundation. This is something they’ll need to figure out, and fairly quickly: Uninsured Americans will be required to obtain health insurance as of Jan. 1, 2014, or face penalties. The penalty in 2014 will be $95 per person or 1 percent of income, whichever is higher, and will increase to $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016. If you have questions about how Obamacare might affect you, TurboTax has a community dedicated to the Affordable Care Act. You can get your questions answered here. But don’t let your blood pressure spike. Here are some quick facts to help you understand what’s going on: 1. Will I be affected? Anyone who doesn’t have access to affordable health insurance through their job or through a government program like Medicare or Medicaid can apply to buy health insurance through the insurance marketplace or exchange in their state, beginning on Oct. 1. That includes: Those who don’t have insurance. Last year, nearly 34 million Americans had been without insurance for at least a year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. The 15 million Americans who currently buy insurance on their own and not through a work-based plan. Workers whose work-based insurance is not affordable, meaning their share of the cost for their coverage (not family coverage) exceeds 9.5 percent of their income. People will still be able to buy individual policies without going through an exchange — for instance, directly from an insurance company or an insurance broker. 2. What if I’ve been turned down before? Under Obamacare, no one can be denied insurance or charged a higher rate because they have a pre-existing condition. That will help the estimated 12.6 million Americans who can’t currently get coverage because of their medical history. 3. What kind of coverage can I get? The exchanges will offer four levels of coverage: Platinum, which will have the highest cost and lowest out-of-pocket expenses. Gold Silver Bronze, which will offer the least expensive monthly premium but highest potential out-of-pocket costs. All plans are required to provide a new minimum standard of service, which is higher than some plans provide today. CNNMoney explains: “Starting next year, nearly all individual plans — both in and out of the exchanges — will be required to cover an array of “essential” services, including medication, maternity and mental health care. Many plans don’t currently offer those benefits.” 4....

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How Long Can Your “Child” Stay on Your Plan?

Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in Blog |

If a plan covers children, they can be added or kept on the health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old. Children can join or remain on a plan even if they are: married not living with their parents attending school not financially dependent on their parents eligible to enroll in their employer’s plan How to get coverage for adult children Adult child may be enrolled during a plan’s open enrollment period or during other special enrollment opportunities. The employer or insurance company can provide details. Under-26-year-olds can be signed up directly in new Marketplace plans. Be sure to include him or her on the list of people to be covered. Article Courtesy of www.healthcare.gov...

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5 Things to Know About the Cost of Health Care Reform Coverage

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 in Blog |

There are about six weeks left until the nationwide launch of health insurance marketplaces, a fundamental piece of the Affordable Care Act. A handful of states have come out with their estimates of how much insurance premiums will cost on their exchanges, and in some cases, they have raised more questions than they answer. Here are five things to keep in mind when considering your coverage options. 1. The “sticker price” is not what most people will pay. A few states have released information on what consumers can expect to pay for health coverage on the exchanges in 2014. But for nearly all exchange participants, those rates aren’t what they’ll actually be shelling out, primarily because about 48% of people now buying their own insurance will be eligible for tax credits that would offset these premiums, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study published this week. (Subsidies will be available for people who have incomes from 100% up to 400% of the poverty level – or about $24,000 to $94,000 a year for a family of four.) “Only the youngest, healthiest people with very high incomes in the individual market – and mostly people in this category aren’t in the individual market because they qualify for group health benefits at work – will pay more across the board in 2014,” says Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation. According to Kaiser, the average premium subsidy (in the form of federal tax credits) will be $2,672 for a family of four purchasing a “silver” tier plan on the individual market. That’s a 32% discount from the plan’s average cost of $8,250. Under the ACA, plans on the exchanges must provide coverage at specific “actuarial value levels”: 60% (bronze plan), 70% (sliver), 80% (gold) and 90% (platinum). This means, for example, the bronze plan covers 60% of medical expenses. The higher the actuarial value, the lower the out-of-pocket costs and higher premiums paid by the consumer. 2. Old coverage vs. new coverage makes it hard to compare plans. Much of the debate over health reform is popping up in states that have estimated consumers will pay higher premiums next year than they do now. For instance, the Ohio Insurance Department said earlier this month that individual exchange plan premiums are expected to climb on average by 41% in 2014 compared to 2013, while plans for small businesses will increase by 18%. The problem with these comparisons is that “it’s completely different coverage – the type of coverage [under Obamacare] is more valuable,” says Linda Blumberg, senior fellow at the Urban Institute. Consumers might pay more for insurance next year because they’re likely getting a richer plan, she says. Under...

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