by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 


Articles tagged with: health insurance subsidies

29 March 2013

Overreacting to Obamacare: Individuals and Businesses Calm Down

Posted in Latest News

Overreacting to Obamacare: Individuals and Businesses Calm Down

    Wendy’s had egg on its face, imitating its own menu item, the Artisan Egg Sandwich, when the fast food chain admitted it overreacted to Obamacare. The law also known as the Affordable Care Act requires all large businesses with 50 or more full time employees – who put in over 30 hours per week - to provide health care or pay a fine by 2014.

    Last year, Wendy’s not only threatened to slash employee hours to avoid offering health insurance (similar to other CEO's outcries), but estimated health insurance would cost over $25,000 a year. Now they say $5,000 sounds more accurate.

    In a similar statement, Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits President Ralph Bower noted that most employees would rather pay the $95 fine if they don’t sign up for health insurance plans or work part time to avoid paying the fine altogether. The first year Obamacare requires individuals pay $95 if they don’t sign up for health insurance. That fine increases annually from $325 in 2015 to $695 in 2016.

    The government expects many to simply pay the relatively smaller fee in the first year, but as the fine increases, estimates more will enroll for health insurance and mitigate any rising healthcare costs over the next few years. To appease low and medium-income Americans, the government will also provide health insurance subsidies (tax credits) to help pay for mandated enrollment.    

    For consumers in California, other optimistic news emerged this week from the state’s exchange, Covered California. Obamacare also requires every state to manage its own health exchange program to help consumers find affordable, quality health insurance. Covered California commissioned a study by the health consulting group, Milliman to find the actual rate consumers can expect to pay for health insurance next year.

    Consumers with individual incomes below 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) will pay an estimated 47 to 84% less in monthly premiums than they do this year. In addition, health insurance subsidies will be issued by the government to lower premium costs even more for qualifying individuals and families. 

    Not everyone will see premiums decrease, however. Young invincibles have been cited as benefiting the least from Obamacare, since they’re usually healthier than older groups and seldom use health insurance, their premiums may increase up to 30% compared to individuals over 65 whose rate will decrease by 10%. 

    The rates however are offset by the fact that most young people make less money than older adults, so they’ll benefit from subsidies offered by the government. These tax credits will in fact lower the rates for young people, making it affordable after all.

    For more health insurance information or estimates on what you’ll pay under Obamacare next year, call us at 818.251.5000 or click here for a free online quote today!

27 February 2013

How Do I Get Health Insurance Subsidies?

Posted in Latest News

How Do I Get Health Insurance Subsidies?

In 2013 I was elated to use my first W-2 in Los Angeles. I just couldn't wait to see how much money I'd get on H&R Block's website to pay off my parking tickets. Once I finished my tax return, I read the following pop-up: "You may qualify for subsidies in 2014.". If you're an individual who earns between $17,000 and $44,000, you'll probably see a similar message every tax season for the foreseeable future.

Health insurance subsidies are simply amounts of money the government pays toward your health insurance. They're only available to people who buy "on-exchange" health insurance plans, which translates to ones offered by the "exchange" aka "marketplace" known as Covered California.

That doesn't mean you have to buy it directly from the state's health insurance marketplace, located in Sacramento. A much closer certified insurance agent in the San Fernando Valley for example can offer the same marketplace plans with health insurance subsidies.

What confuses the average customer is how Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente, Health Net, and other major providers are affected by on-exchange versus off-exchange insurance plans.

Most major providers offer Covered California plans (on-exchange) and private plans (off-exchange). Often, the plans are identical, but one comes with financial assistance so a teacher can still buy a rich insurance plan and afford it because she qualifies for health insurance subsidies. On the flip side, the oil tycoon can buy the equivalent plan privately and pay for it without government help.

A Covered California insurance agent can easily start an application through the state marketplace and quote how much financial assistance you might qualify for without any paperwork. Since you must report your income to start the process, eventually you'll need to provide a copy of your tax return or other proof of income.

For families to qualify, the combined income of both spouses must be between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). For example, a family of four who makes up to around $88,000 will qualify for subsidies through Covered California.

If you don't feel like doing the math, just as an insurance agent to do it for you. Enrollment is free, just like the free calculator we give away.