Understanding The Affordable Care Act "Obamacare" For Individuals & Employees
Q: Does my employer have to offer health insurance?
A: No. Employers who have fewer than 50 full time and full time equivalent employees are not required to provide health insurance. Those with more than 50 are required to either offer ACA compliant plans or pay a penalty.
Q: Do I have to take my employer’s plan?
A: No. You can always apply to an exchange, either public or private, to see if coverage is cheaper for you and your family through an exchange. If you work for a company with more than 200 full time and full time equivalent employees, and your employer offers a health plan, your employer is required to automatically enroll you in their plan. You can opt out if you choose.
Q: Are there less expensive options available for health insurance?
A: Yes. For those families whose household income is between $65,000 and $300,000 per year, paying the penalty and applying for short term major medical plans that provide 2 million dollars of coverage per person per year will result in savings of 40% to 60% over the cost of an ACA compatible plan.
Q:How much is the penalty if I don’t buy ACA compliant insurance?
A: As of 01/01/2019, There is no more penalty for not buying insurance.
Q:Who collects the penalty?
A: The IRS as part of your annual income tax return. You will be required to show that you had ACA compliant health insurance for yourself and every member of your family for a minimum of 9 months of the year.
Q: Are there other options besides buying insurance on a government exchange?
A: Yes. Many insurance brokers will provide private exchanges that offer all the products available on the public exchanges plus addition products and services. In addition, some health insurance carriers that may service your area, have opted not to participate in the government sponsored health exchanges, but instead are relying on brokers to sell their products. Brokers will be able to provide access to all the government subsidies as well as a broader range of compatible products.
Q: When can I sign up for health insurance?
A: As of now, the plan is to have open enrollment between November 1st and December 15th 2019 each year. There are a series of qualify events that will allow people to sign up for health insurance in between the open enrollment periods, but simply coming down with a serious illness or have an accident are not qualifying events. In these cases, you will be fully responsible for any and all medical bills. It is advisable to have some form of insurance in place at all times, either ACA compatible or an alternative plan.
Q: How do I sign up for health insurance?
A: Contact SafetyNet Insurance Group at 866-758-7229. The price for any health insurance plan, whether you purchase through a government exchange or a private exchange is exactly the same. The advantage of using a broker is that the broker works for you, not the government or the insurance company. They have access to more options then the government exchanges and represent a broad cross section of companies. You’ll get the best deal that fits your family and needs from an experienced broker.
Q: When do the new ACA compliant health plans go into effect?
A: The New Plans that will be available for the coming year are typically available to review starting in late October. Although you can't apply until November 1st, plans applied for by December 15th will usually have a Jan. 1st effective date. There are a number of “qualifying events”, such as loss of a job, divorce, death of a spouse, etc. that can trigger someone to get health insurance in the middle of the year, but for most situations the open enrollment will be between Nov. and Dec. and the effective date will be Jan. 1st of each year.
Q: What happens if I don’t sign up for health insurance, decide to just pay the penalty and then sometime during the year I get sick?
A:There are several qualifying events that make it possible for people to enroll in a ACA qualified health plan outside of the open enrollment period. Accidents and illness are not qualifying events. In other words, if you do not elect a health plan during open enrollment, between November through December of each year, and you get sick after January 1st, you will not be able to obtain any form of health insurance that will cover that particular illness until January 1st of the following year. There are plans outside of the ACA available through the year but they will not cover pre-existing conditions.
Alternative: An alternative for those who want to keep insurance costs low and still maintain coverage is short term medical or healthcare sharing ministries. These plans are typically 40% to 60% cheaper than exchange plans, provides $1 - 2 million in of coverage and is the ideal choice for those who are reasonably healthy and want to provide less expensive coverage for themselves and their families. Click here to review the alternative plans that are available through SafetyNet Insurance Group.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SAFETYNET INSURANCE BROKER TODAY AT 866-758-7229