by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 

 

29 November 2012

California Health Exchange 101

Posted in Covered California

California Health Exchange 101

    Imagine you’re cramming for an important test. It doesn’t involve parallel parking, reaching a Goblet of Fire, or understanding what follows SCISSORS : CUT :: on the SATs. Oh yeah, and President Obama is your professor. The government will require most Americans to have health insurance by 2014. We’ve had months to study for the test that is “Obamacare” and most of us have procrastinated understanding the details.

    Now everyone’s buzzing about "Health Care Exchanges", "Health Insurance Exchanges", "the Exchanges". This just in! Exchanges have been renamed yet again to "marketplace" to avoid confusion during translation. Well no wonder everyone avoids the subject when no one knows which name to use! If you feel behind, you’re not alone. Lucky for us, it’s never too late to learn.

    Question 1: What is an Exchange?
           
     Let me save you the trouble of "wikipediaing" it. "Health Insurance Exchange", "Health Exchange", or just plain 'ole "the Exchange" all mean the same thing: a market place organized by each state for consumers to purchase health insurance plans. By 2014 every state must set up its own Exchange.

    Think of the Exchange as Priceline.com for health insurance, a website where you view and compare multiple plans for the best deal which fits your needs.

    The mission of "Covered California" is to increase the number of insured Californians, improve health care quality, lower costs, and reduce health disparities through an innovative, competitive marketplace that empowers consumers to choose the health plan and providers that give them the best value.

    Question 2: What if I don’t get health insurance?

    There’s a penalty, and the amount will go up each year for the first three years.

  •   In 2014, you'll pay $95 or 1 percent of your taxable income, whichever is greater.
  •  In 2015, the fine will be $325 or 2 percent of taxable income.
  • In 2016 the penalty will be $695 or 2.5 percent of income.
  •  Each year after 2016, the government will refigure the fine based on a cost-of-living adjustment.

    Question 3: What if I can’t afford health insurance?

    If you and your family meet certain qualifications, the government will offer tax credits (subsidies) which lower the maximum amount of premium you have to pay for health insurance. All you have to do is enroll in one of the new state-run insurance Exchanges.

  • If your income falls between 133 and 400 percent of the federal poverty levels (FPL*), you won't have to pay more than 2 percent of your income in premiums.
  • *FPL is $10,830 for an individual and $22,050 for a family of four.
  • If your income is 400 percent of FPL, your premium costs won't be more than 9.5 percent of your income.

   If you have any questions you’d like answered by us, please comment below and we’ll be sure to address them!

  For all your health insurance needs, call Haronian Insurance at 818.251.5000 or click here for a free health insurance quote!