On Tuesday February 25th, the health care administration announced that enrollment in the federal exchange has reach 4 million applicants. After a rocky start due to website technical issues and delays, the number of participants has steadily increased. In February, there were about 700,000 people who signed up for the exchange. Still, it is unclear how many of the enrollees have actually paid for their first month’s premiums.
Originally, the White House intended to have 7 million people enrolled on the exchange by March 31st. Their goal was to have at least 2.7 of the enrollees be young and healthy participants. The healthy participants enable the cost of coverage to decrease for the other enrollees so their participation is critical to the success of the program. There is little information currently on how many of the 4 million participants are the “younger healthier” individuals that the Obamacare administration is hoping for.
Many experts also predict that there will be an increase in the number of applicants attempting to enroll prior to the March 31st deadline. Hopefully, the website is able to accommodate this surge in applications unlike when the site first went live in October. Outreach is currently taking place to entice more families to enroll and remind people who haven’t enrolled of the potential penalties they’ll face. Families of four who make less than four times the federal poverty levl (approximately $94,000) may qualify for a government subsidy to alleviate some of the premium costs. However, every individual who is not covered by April 1st, could face a fine of $95 a year of 1% of their annual income.
For more information about the exchange, please feel free to email us with any questions.
Purchasing health insurance can be a daunting task. Do you purchase individual or family insurance? Is it better to be covered under your employer? What’s a deductible? How much will I have to spend out of pocket?
That’s why we’re here to help! Most people don’t know that insurance agents give advice for FREE. What other business person would give free advice (no sane one I’ll tell you that)?! From the moment you pick up the phone, you don’t have to pay agents anything. They’ll answer any questions you may have, help you review different plan options, and even provide recommendations based on your individual or family needs.
Here’s some things to consider before giving us a call:
How many people do you want on your insurance plan? Will you just be covering yourself or do you have a spouse and children?
Do you have any special medications?
Will you need medical attention in the near future? (For example, will you be expecting a child or do you need to have surgery?)
How often do you typically go to the doctors?
Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, we can help research plans that will fit your needs. No person’s health is the same so coverage shouldn’t be the same for everyone either.
So what are you waiting for? Give us a call today and we’ll do the dirty work for you!
A recent report released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services revealed some troubling insight regarding what is considered to be the “Affordable care Act.” The report was released last Friday and reviewed how changes in the underwriting policies of health care providers will affect the cost of premiums. This report was originally planned to be released 90 days after the initial start date of federal exchange as stated by the 2011 Budget Control Act. However, similar to the other delays in Obamacare deliverables, this report was delayed as well.
“The Obama administration’s long delay of this CMS report is consistent with the rest of the law – behind schedule and bad news for small business,” said Chairman Graves.
This report revealed that:
65% of small businesses are expected to see increases in their healthcare premiums
35% of small businesses are expected to have rate reductions
91% of businesses claimed to have seen an increase in per-employee healthcare cost during their recent renewals
The ACA will lead to 2 million fewer jobs by 2024
Unfortunately, this law is dependent on the younger generation of individuals to sign up for health care plans through the exchange. This is due to the fact that the law is meant to be unbiased when providing coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. However, the younger generation and healthy individuals may have to pay more for insurance so that “everyone” can have equal access to healthcare under the law. This means that the younger generation will see rates increase and may steer them away from enrolling in the exchange. The penalty fee may be less than the cost of their medical coverage.
In addition, small businesses will also be affected by the Health Insurance Tax (HIT). Under this tax provision, small businesses are expected to pay almost $360/family that they cover. This tax may lead small businesses to drop coverage for their employees in order to avoid this cost.
If you have any questions about how your business may be affected by the Health Insurance Tax, please feel free to give us a call.
The Covered California website is back up and running after a five day power outage due to technical issues. A website maintenance check was originally planned for February 16th and during this routine check, the website shut down because of what is claimed to be a software malfunction. Covered California has been enrolling around 7,000 people a day on the exchange trying to get as many program participants as possible prior to the March 31st deadline. Thus far, 828,638 people have been enrolled on the California open exchange.
Unfortunately, due to the website shut down, many of the Covered California representatives were forced to complete applications on paper meaning they’ll have to go back and fill out the information on the computer later. This adds hours of unnecessary labor to the employees that should have been avoided. Many people and agents are frustrated with the website errors. According to the Los Angeles Times, insurance agent Nahun Mancia claims, “It’s frustrating. You’re trying to do the best you can with what you have, but it’s just not good enough.” Though Covered California hasn’t had as many issues as the federal exchange, it has experienced its share of issues.
Some of the issues include long wait times, faulty notices sent to applicants, and a physical directory containing errors.
For more information about the status of the Covered California website, click here.
For many middle income families, health insurance can be expensive or even considered unaffordable. Prices for a family can range anywhere from $500-$2000 a month. For the Giron family, these costs have been deemed unnecessary at this time and Sarah Giron has made the decision to go without coverage despite previous medical treatment for cervical cancer.
Her argument is that the penalty for not purchasing coverage is less than the cost of what her insurance would be. Thus, it is cheaper for her family’s budget to pay the fine than to buy health insurance. This has been an ongoing concern for many health care professionals. However, before you decide to go without coverage, it is important to speak to an insurance agent and review all of the factors for consideration.
Look into all of the coverage options on and off the exchange.
Review potential risk factors for your family and your financial preparedness plan in the event something does occur.
Explore the new benefits under the health care law.
If you have any questions about whether health coverage is right for you and your family, please feel free to give us a call. We’ll help you explore your options so that you and your family are protected.