We are only 54 days away from the long anticipated launch of Obamacare. Although the program has quite a lot of critics, there are many people that will benefit from it. We have been receiving a lot of e mails from individuals interested in learning more about how to get the details for their state and how to enroll. Remember, all Americans are required to carry health insurance as of January 1, 2014 or face fines that will be collected by the IRS.
The primary website you will want to become acquainted with is HealthCare.Gov. The site has a very good overall description of how the new system will work. There is also a very helpful questionnaire that will help you to determine what options may become available to you based on your individual situation.
State Health Insurance Marketplaces
So called health insurance exchanges are beginning to come online, although open enrollment will not begin for a few more weeks (October 1). It is important to note that the earliest coverage will begin is January 1. If you need insurance prior to that, there is a special website set up for that purpose.
Some states may not set up a health insurance exchange. If they don't, the federal government will set one up for that state. Another way to find information on your state based exchange is to simply do a search using Google such as 'Florida health insurance exchange' or 'Florida health insurance marketplace' (of course, substitute the name of your own state). It is interesting to note that many insurers are taking a 'wait and see' approach and not offering insurance through the exchanges right away. The thinking is that there will be a very high percentage of individuals in the beginning that represent the highest risk, due to existing medical conditions.
Do You Qualify For A Financial Subsidy?
Estimates are that nearly 26 million Americans will be eligible for a government health insurance subsidy, but most don't know it. Part of the plan is to provide tax credits to low and middle income families. I found a very useful calculator that will help you determine if you are eligible for a health insurance subsidy. Don't rule out the possibility that you may be eligible. I have seen examples where even a family of four with a household income in the $90,000 range can be eligible for a subsidy.
The subsidy is a tax credit and is paid out directly to the insurance company and the policy holder pays the remaining costs. Since many people will not be in a financial position to pay for their insurance and wait for the credit with their tax refund, the money is fronted by the government at the time of purchase. The benchmark of 'affordability' is based on the cost of health insurance being less than 9.5% your household income.
Those with pre-existing conditions and the self employed are expected to be among the groups that will be first in line to get coverage. If you have not been following my recent articles on this topic, here is a list for your reference -
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