As a health insurance agent, there is little I find more frightening than the number of persons who do not have health insurance, or those with health insurance still struggling with high deductibles. There is still so much confusion about various plans.
Now in its third year, the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare,” still provides insurance option for millions of ‘the uninsured” today. And despite the many negatives against it, it gives me great joy and peace of mind when a household qualifies for tax credits and affordable health and dental plans.
According to Healthcare.gov, here are a few points you should know:
- When you fill out the Marketplace application, we will tell you whether you qualify for Private Insurance Plans or Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP). Plans cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, and preventive care.
- If you can afford health insurance, but choose not to buy it, you must have a health coverage exemption or pay a fee. If you did not have coverage in 2015, you’ll have to pay a fee on your federal tax return of $325 per adult and $162.50 per child under 18, or 2% of your income (whichever is higher). In 2016, the fee is $695 per person and $347.50 per child under 18, or 2.5% of your income (whichever is higher).
- You are considered covered if you have Medicare Part A or Part C, Medicaid, CHIP, any job-based plan, an individual health plan, COBRA, retiree coverage, TRICARE, VA health coverage, or some other kinds of health coverage.
- If you have a qualifying life event (like moving to a new state, getting married, having a child, or losing health coverage), you can get a Special Enrollment Period. (CMS Product No. 11749. Revised August 2015)
So don’t procrastinate! The deadline for enrollment for an effective date of January 1, 2016 is December 15, 2015. If you don’t have health insurance, I urge you to visit HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) to simply talk to an agent!