by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 


02 October 2013

10 Obamacare Tips for all Ages and Incomes

Posted in Covered California

10 Obamacare Tips for all Ages and Incomes

   Breaking Bad started with a man diagnosed with cancer whose health insurance was too expensive. Isn't it serendipitous how the series finale ended the same week Obamacare began*? You've waited long enough: let's get to the Top 10 Obamacare Tips!

   1) Obamacare is also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    This is sometimes shorted to PPACA or Affordable Care Act or just ACA.

   2) *Obamacare has been the law since 2010.

    Some benefits (ex: kids staying on their parents' plan up to age 26) started sooner than others.

Other benefits start later: like on January 1st, 2014, all preexisting conditions must be covered by all insurance carriers at no added cost.

Most people say Obamacare began October 1st, but they really mean the biggest changes started.

   3) When someone mentions "Obamacare insurance" they probably mean new insurance plans in the exchange*

    Truthfully, Obamacare affects all insurance plans.

  4) *An exchange offers new health insurance plans, varied by state.

    Imagine an exchange like a call center for the DMV. The exchange will ask questions over the phone, enroll you in any insurance plan they offer, and mail you an insurance card.

Each state has its own exchange with its own name. For example, the exchange in California is called Covered California.

   5) Exchanges sell new plans. But they aren't the only place to buy them.

    Not everyone buys Coke from a vending machine. Likewise, not everyone will go to the exchange to buy insurance.

Insurance brokers and agents are more experienced than newly-hired Exchange workers, so most people will likely call an agent for faster, more convenient service.

    6) You may recognize new plans in the exchange.

    Major carriers: like Anthem, Kaiser, and HealthNet, competed to showcase their plans in the exchange. To be in the exchange, plans must have 10 Essential Benefits and premium assistance if you're low to middle income.

  7) Premium assistance lowers the cost for insurance and acts like a voucher.

    This is sometimes called subsidized insurance, a tax credit, or a subsidy. If you're under 65, don't qualify for Medicaid, and don't get insurance an employer, you may qualify for assistance if you buy an exchange plan.

Ask an insurance agent to help you enroll in an exchange plan. If you qualify for assistance, your premium will drop the day you enroll. Click here to calculate how much your premium assistance amount may be.

 8) Obamacare makes you buy insurance or pay a fine.

    The fine is $95 the first year, then sharply increases each year you're not covered.

  9) Not interested in exchange plans? There are still private plans.

    Insurance brokers and agents still offer private insurance plans. Likewise, plans in the exchange are also available as private plans (which means they don't come with premium assistance). Call an insurance agent for more details.

  10) You may keep your old plan. Your plan may also change.

    The only changes some plans will see are more benefits. As the healthcare system gets an overdue makeover, some plans will be reviewed to become more efficient and affordable. Ask an agent to review your plan for more details.