Current Healthcare Options and Your Family

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I have to admit all of the Healthcare information buzzing around these days is very confusing to me. Just when I think I understand, I learn something new. However, I do believe that just turning "the other way" is not the answer. Healthcare is important. It is important now, for me, for my family, and also for the future as we grow older. The more educated I am, the better steward I can be of the healthcare options available. Recently, I listened in on a presentation hosted by Well Point (Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield) and The Motherhood, with the goal of better understanding the new healthcare laws and options. Anthem BCBS logo

 

This is what I learned in regards to healthcare changes and options that are available.

Four options to get health insurance for the next year:

  1. Continue purchasing insurance through your or your spouse’s employer

  2. Buy health insurance yourself - either through exchanges, direct for insurance companies or through traditional brokers

  3. Enroll in government programs like Medicare or Medicaid plans - if you are eligible

  4. Go without insurance - but pay a tax penalty

A new option for purchasing health insurance is called the "exchange", which is just another word for marketplace. It will work similarly to Amazon, Expedia or Travelocity and lets you compare health insurance options. Public and private health insurance exchanges will operate in a similar way

  • Plans will be available for sale October 1, with coverage starting on January 1st of next year.  Each state will have its own exchange serving people who buy health insurance for just themselves and their families

  • The vast majority of people who are currently covered by their employers will not see a change or have to use the public exchange

Important things to remember:

  • You may qualify for financial help – and protect your whole family

  • You can get preventive health care at no cost

  • You can’t be denied based on pre-existing conditions

  • Help will be available for those people who make about $45,000 dollars a year and for families of four who make about $92,000 dollars a year

    • Financial help will be offered on a sliding scale, meaning the more money you make, the less financial help you will get

    • Practically everyone is eligible for marketplace coverage. Requirements are that individuals live in the U.S., must be a U.S. citizen or national and cannot be currently incarcerated.

Does the new healthcare law only apply to those who don’t have other healthcare options through an employer?

Many of the changes in the law are related to the individuals who purchase on their own, but there are also a few changes for employers. In particular, there will be a number of changes for smaller employers. As an example, they will be required to issue coverage to anyone who applies, and they cannot deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing healthcare condition. It also makes sure that small employers are offering benefit plans that don’t have any lifetime limits on the dollar value of the essential health benefits.

What about large employer groups? Businesses that have 50 or more full-time employees are considered a "large business" under the health care law. Beginning in 2015, large employers that do not offer affordable health insurance that provides minimum value to their full-time employees (and dependents) may be required to pay an assessment if at least one of their full-time employees is certified to receive a premium tax credit in the Marketplace. (A full-time employee is one who is employed an average of at least 30 hours per week). This is called The Employer Shared Responsibility Payment.

Where can I go for more information?

I know that the current healthcare laws are debated and can cause quite a stir. My hopes in presenting this information to you is that you can be more informed of the future of our healthcare and make the right decisions for your family.

(This post is sponsored by The Motherhood and Anthem BCBS/WellPoint. All opinions are my own. See full disclosure here.)

Ruth Schwenk Signature