5 Things You Need to Know About ACA (Obamacare)
So, you do not have insurance through your employer and you are shopping online for an affordable healthcare plan. Here is a list of 5 important things to know when navigating the marketplace searching for the right health insurance plan for you.
1. Premiums are based on income and household size
When you go through the application process for a health insurance plan, you will have to answer various questions about your job, income, family size, and much more. These numbers are also based on a prediction for the upcoming year, not based on what your previous tax return was. The more money you make, the less tax credit you receive. The reason for this is that the ACA is geared to helping those with lower incomes have more access to health insurance.
2. The insurance plans are through private companies
When you are shopping for an insurance plan, you are not purchasing a product from the Federal Government. They are private insurance companies that offer a standard set of plans, which are determined by the government, and the tax credit is used to give you a more affordable premium. In other words, just because you purchased your health insurance through the marketplace does not mean that you are insured by the government.
3. There can be penalties for misinformation
Let’s say you are assuming you will make $50,000 so you put that income on your application. When the year is over and you file your taxes finding out that you made more like $75,000, the tax credit that was offered to you will have to be repaid, often from your tax return the following year. These penalties are to ensure that you provide the most accurate information and try not to take advantage of the system. On the flip side, if you file taxes and made less than $50,000 you could get an extra credit or additional returns. Best practice is to be as accurate as possible on your initial application to avoid any unseen fees or penalties.
4. There are only certain times you can enroll
These periods are referred to as enrollment periods. Every year, open enrollment opens up November 1 and closes on December 15. That is not a whole lot of time to shop around so it is best to be prepared and be on top of your application so as not to miss the window. There are special enrollment periods offered to those who have had life changing events such as a job change, birth of a child, change of income, etc.
5. There are local agents like me to help you shop for the best plan
It can get very overwhelming skimming through insurance plans and having to learn all of the jargon that goes with each plan. There are plenty of agents local or online who are happy to help you navigate the market place and even fill out your applications for you. Take advantage of these agents as they often come at no cost to you. They are paid directly from insurance companies to help you find the best plan