17 Mar Health Insurance and the Affordable Care Act need to know in 2014
2014 is an exciting year for health insurance. Four years ago, one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in decades was introduced: The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Whether you agree with it or not, some key parts of the new law have already been put in place and are affecting the way we buy health insurance. As with any controversial bill, the political divide and polarizing media make it challenging to navigate through the new provisions and options for consumers. Let’s take a look at some of the most important changes.
So what’s new in 2014? This year, individuals are required to have health insurance by the end of March, as is now easier than ever to sign up for it. Those who choose not to comply will have to pay a fee, but most importantly, they’ll have to pay for all of their health care costs (more on that later). Also new in the ACA are requirements that target preventive care, minimum health benefits and enrollment of individuals with preexisting adverse health conditions. Although we understand buying health care can be intimidating, you can always talk to a benefits specialist to help you understand different options. Other choices include the health insurance marketplace through Obamacare, or the outside health insurance providers like Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. So just in case you’ve never bought insurance, let’s review some of the most commonly used terms.
You’ve probably heard a lot about insurance premium, which is, in essence, the amount you or your employer pay for your healthcare. It is paid monthly, quarterly or yearly. The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before the insurance company starts paying its share; a lower deductible usually means a higher premium. Health insurance covers different services like doctor visits, exams, and check-ups, which are paid through a copayment. A copayment is the fixed amount you pay at the time the service is used and it varies depending on your coverage.
As mentioned before, buying insurance is increasingly a financial decision and for some folks, it will come down to a risk–cost equation. This year not having insurance is going to cost you. The fee (also called fine, individual responsibility payment or penalty) is calculated as follows:
- $95 per person per year, with a cap of $285 per family or,
- 1% of your yearly household income, with a cap equal to the national average premium for a bronze plan.
Method one is for household incomes below $19,650 a year, and method two for incomes above that threshold. Be aware that even if you pay the fee you’re still not covered by Obamacare.
If you’re left wondering if any of these changes apply to you or your family, you’re not alone. Insurance and advising experts are helping people across the country choose the right plans. Make sure you review your current health care plan and consult with others before you make any meaningful changes, especially if your employer provides health insurance. Remember that the main point of having insurance is to protect you and your family without breaking your bank.
AWS Inc serves New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, and Southern Louisiana by providing protection for your home, business, or family with affordable plans in property insurance, liability insurance, life insurance, car insurance, and flood insurance from our Metairie, LA office. Our corporate clients can rest assured that our dedicated advisers at AWS Risk Management, LLC will help you implement workable solutions that achieve maximum asset protection with minimal cost of risk to your company.