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Health Insurance Plans and Important Dates

Doctors and staff

At Today Insurance, we are already providing our customers with new health insurance plans as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as the federal health care law or Obamacare. As announced in an earlier post, we have been preparing for the insurance marketplace for a long while, so that we might better serve you. It is one of our goals to help you understand the new law and the opportunities available to you.

Firstly, there are some important dates that you should be familiar with. To buy a health plan on Florida’s exchange, you must enroll by March 31, 2014. However, if you want to be insured on January 1, you will need to buy your plan by December 15, 2013. If you are already covered by your employer, chances are you will not need to do anything!

Important Dates:

  • October 1, 2013: Marketplace open enrollment started
  • January 1, 2014: Health coverage can start
  • March 31, 2014: Open enrollment ends
  • Any Time: You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP any time. If you qualify, your coverage can begin immediately.

What many people will be looking at is the price of the new health insurance plans. You should not base your decision on price alone. There are other items you should consider when selecting your health insurance plan. Will you be able to keep your same doctor? What will happen if you need a specialist? How often will you be allowed to go to your doctor?

As you may already know, there are health insurance plans at different rates of co-insurance being offered. Co-insurance is your share of the costs of a covered service. It is calculated as a percentage of the allowed amount for the service. For example, bronze plans sold on the exchange will have co-insurance rates of 40 percent for the consumer and 60 percent for the insurer. That means if the health plan’s allowed amount for an office visit is $100 and you’ve met your deductible, you’d pay 40 percent, or $40. Plans at the higher end (platinum plans) will pay for 90 percent of covered medical expenses, and consumers would pay 10 percent.

Another factor in your price for health care includes the deductible. The deductible is the amount of money that you are responsible for in a plan year. Some plans will have high deductibles (up to $6,000); other plans may offer deductibles as low as $500. Typically, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium.

The health insurance plans will also have maximum dollar amounts you will have to pay out-of-pocket during a policy period. Under the health law, the limits in 2014 are expected to be $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families, but plans will vary.

Another factor in your cost will be whether you are a tobacco user or not. The Affordable Care Act will allow states to charge up to 50% more in premiums to consumers who use tobacco products. This increase in premium is not allowed to be subsidized by the federal health care program. So if you use tobacco products, expect to pay more out of your own pocket without the help of government money to help reduce your health insurance premiums.

Watch the informative video we’ve posted on our health insurance information page to learn more about the new health insurance plans. If you have questions about health reform, or would like for us to estimate your cost, or how much your government subsidy might be, contact us. We can give you approximate costs for your premiums and get your plan in place before the deadlines stated above. You may also want to check out healthcare.gov for more information. We’re here to answer all of your health insurance questions. Call us today at 1.877.383.4429.

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