Affordable Health Care Act Questions and Answers
Now that the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) also called ObamaCare is fully operational for individuals people are asking questions. Some common questions are being asked repeatedly. This month’s column will answer some of those questions.
QUESTION: I did not buy health insurance earlier and currently do not have health insurance. Can I buy health insurance now?
ANSWER: ACA has open enrollment periods. ACA Plans cannot be purchased outside of the open enrollment period other than during “special enrollment periods” (SEP). Many people now asking if they can buy insurance now do not have an SEP. Unless you are in an SEP, you cannot purchase a permanent ACA Plan. Unless you have Medicaid or purchasing a child’s plan, your best option is probably to purchase a temporary plan to get you through to the end of the year and enroll in an ACA Plan during open enrollment from 11/15 – 2/15/2015.
QUESTION: My daughter had health insurance through her college. She just graduated and needs to buy health insurance; can she?
ANSWER: She appears to have has at least one SEP available. Possible SEPs include – loss of creditable coverage, move outside plan’s service area, and change in income. She can contact an ACA agent and be guided through her options, plans and enrollment. She needs to take action with 60 days of the SEP, but the sooner the better.
QUESTION: The health insurance I have had for years is renewing and the premiums are going up, can I enroll in an ACA plan at this time?
ANSWER: Yes. You have 30 days from the renewal date of your current health insurance to enroll in an ACA Plan. Coverage would begin of the following month. the 1st
QUESTION: I changed jobs and my income has been increased substantially. Last fall I enrolled in an ACA Plan and took advantage of the tax credit or subsidy that I was entitled to. Should I notify the exchange and what happens if I do not?
ANSWER: You should notify the healthcare exchange. Your increase in income may decrease or eliminated your subsidy. You have 60 days to report this event (the sooner the better) and you will also have the opportunity to change plans if you wish.
QUESTION: I lost my job and now make far less money. I am currently receiving a premium subsidy. Should I notify the exchange?
ANSWER: You should notify the healthcare exchange. If your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) falls below 38% of the Federal Poverty Level, you may not be entitled to a subsidy, and you may be eligible for Medicaid. In that case you would possibly need to repay the exchange for subsidies (tax credits) you receive. You have 60 days (soon the better) from this event to notify the exchange and you will also have the opportunity to change plans if you wish.
QUESTION; I am getting married in June – do I have options to change my health insurance?
ANSWER: Yes, you can contact an ACA agent and review your options. Do this as soon as convenient and must be done within 60 days of the event. If you change plans, your coverage would start the first of the month following proper enrollment.