It’s Only Day 2…
It’s only two days of 2017 ACA Annual Enrollment so only a short period has gone by but I already have discovered a few areas (headaches…oops did I think that out loud?) that need clarification. Please see below…
Prices go up!
It seems almost inevitable, like death and taxes. Health Insurance rates have gone up. Also, tax subsidies have decreased. Most people will see at least a 25% increase in their premium rate. If you have Individual Insurance coverage whether Off or On the Federal Exchange please double-check rates with your insurer or agent. You can also contact me and I’d be happy to help research your Texas Rates. Sorry, I don’t have an Insurance Agent’s license in any other state right now.
Many Insurers Have Left The Exchange
Many major Insurers like United Health One, Cigna, Scott and White, and Aetna (and some others) have opted not to participate in the Federal Exchange. Others have limited their participation to specific counties. You should have received some kind of notification from your insurer if there were any major changes or cancellation of your policy. Check your mail or as always… call me for further info. (281) 315-9103
Other Options for QHP
There are still a handful of insurance carriers participating in the exchange and offering Qualified Health Plans including but not limited to BCBTX, Oscar, Molina and some Humana plans. Even though they still participate you should anticipate a significant rate increase. Again check with your insurance agent or with me if you like.
Also, there are regional options for Qualified Health Plans. Some plans like Oscar and Molina which are only available in some counties or Accountable Care/self-funded insurers. There are also some Ministry Share plans associated with some faiths. Although the Ministry Share plans are not technically qualified health plans so you may owe a tax penalty at the end of the year. Make sure to check out these options.
Employers may offer group plans to their employees which qualify as QHP.
Still, many of the “major” insurers are still offering coverage but only off the exchange and directly from them. However, most of these are not paying Insurance Agents commission for enrollment. As you can imagine we are reluctant to sell them. We gotta eat too! Some agents like myself will help you enroll for a one-time agency fee. Hopefully, you can budget for this.
Are You Exempt from The ACA Penalty Fee?
First of all, the fee or “shared responsibility payment” for not having coverage in 2016 is 2.5% of household income or total yearly premium for the national average price of a Bronze plan sold through the Marketplace
Exemptions might be available based on a number of circumstances, including certain Hardships (see attached app with a list of eligible hardships), some life events, health coverage or financial status, and membership in some groups. You should determine if you have a financial status exemption by still filling out and app on Healthcare.gov and obtaining the “Eligibility” document which tells you your status.
For more detailed information please consult with your tax professional.
Avoid a Financial Catastrophe
No one can argue the importance of health insurance during a medical emergency. If you opt to do without and eat the tax penalty, I still urge you to purchase some type of supplemental indemnity coverages like Cancer, Critical Illness, Hospital or Accident policies. This might help prevent any future financial catastrophes and provide some peace of mind. Contact Me or (281) 315-9103 for more info about what is available.