If, for some strange reason, you decided to read the news lately I’m sure you’ve heard the term “Obamacare” or, technically, the “Affordable Healthcare Act” (AHA) at least 500 times. This new law mandating health insurance is honestly beyond complicated, but to make it easy to understand let’s just sum it up with “You better have mother fucking health insurance or the federal government will pimp slap the shit out of you and then take your money.” While I’m sure that’s not the official slogan, I think it should be! 😉
Just to be fair, there are some really positive aspects to Obamacare such as: All new health insurance policies are now required to cover additional benefits including maternity, mental health, etc. Also, People with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied insurance coverage.
Obviously, there are negative aspects to Obamacare, as well. The biggest one being that the government will impose fines on you for not having health insurance. (This is really one of the most insane governmental policies I’ve ever heard of, but whatever…)
Needless to say, there is no possible way I could even get into specific details regarding this subject without writing something comparable to the size of an encyclopedia. So, I’m REALLY simplifying here. But it should give you a general idea or a reasonable starting point to research your own particular situation.
So, let’s get into some of basics regarding the new Obamacare/AHA – FOR INDIVIDUALS:
***OBAMACARE ENROLLMENT BEGINS ON OCTOBER 1, 2013 AND WILL LAST UNTIL MARCH 31, 2014.***
***OBAMACARE COVERAGE WILL BEGIN NO SOONER THAN JANUARY 1, 2014.****
***YOU MUST HAVE AN INSURANCE POLICY BY JANUARY 1, 2014 OR YOU WILL BE SUBJECT TO A PENALTY FEE. (See amounts below).***
There are currently 4 options for obtaining health insurance:
1. Keep your current health insurance plan through your workplace. (No changes)
2. Keep your current private health insurance plan. (No changes)
3. Determine if you are exempt from having a health plan. (rare)
4. Purchase a new policy through the Health Insurance Marketplace (with subsidies available for certain income brackets.)
The “Health Insurance Marketplace” is a new concept to purchase health insurance. It’s basically set-up like a travel site which lists the different insurance carriers with different plans and rates for you to choose from.
Each state decided whether they wanted to set-up their own State Marketplace or use the Basic Federal Marketplace.
-Most states are using the federal marketplace found at www.Healthcare.gov
-Some states have set-up their own specific websites. California has set up it’s own state marketplace called California State Insurance Exchange Program and can be found at www.Coveredca.com
*ANYONE CAN USE “THE MARKETPLACES”TO PURCHASE OR RESEARCH INSURANCE POLICIES.*
Certain policies will get a subsidy/credit/portion of premium paid for by the government. But, your income must be at least 400% or under below the national poverty level amount based on the number of family members.
-For an individual – Your income would need to be between $15,302 and $46,021 to qualify for a lower premium.
-For a family of 4 – Your combined income would need to be between $31,155 and $93,700 to qualify for a lower premium.
Here’s an example of how a subsidized premium would work, if your income is at least 400% or under below the poverty line.
Family of 4:
TOTAL premium – $8,000/yr.
LESS: Obamacare discount – $2,000 (Paid by goverment directly to your Insurance Co. upon issuance of policy. Meaning you don’t need to pay the subsidy and then get reimbursed at a later date.)
Your OUT OF POCKET premium due – $6,000/yr. (or $500/mth.)
If you decide to not buy health insurance, then the government will actually penalize/tax you for failure to obtain proper health insurance. This penalty will be reported on your tax return. The penalty structure is calculated as:
-1% of annual income OR $95 (whichever is higher.)
(Also, the penalty will be pro-rated if you had no insurance for only select months out of the year.)
-Child fee of $47.50 for each child without the required insurance. (Max. of $285).
The best suggestion I could give is if your income is at the poverty line or up to at least 400% above the poverty line, then DEFINITELY visit your state’s marketplace to at least see how much of a discount/subsidy/credit you MAY qualify for? (It only takes about a minute.)
Everyone else, I would still look at the information contained in the links above. I think both of them have helpful calculators to estimate figures on your personal circumstances regarding health insurance.
***Please Note: If anyone finds an inaccuracy or wants to add any other specifics regarding ObamaCare, please feel free!!***
Hope this helps even if just a little??? 🙂