It seems that all that I write about lately is the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I guess it is because we are approximately 2 weeks away from open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace and I am talking to more and more people about the impact the law will have on each of us. In all of that talking that I have been doing lately, I have noticed that there are a lot of people that don’t understand what the law says or does for us.
A frequent comment I heard was that people were not going to be able to buy health insurance through the marketplace because they owed money to the IRS for past taxes. Eligibility to buy insurance through the marketplace is based on whether you are able to get insurance through another source, such as an employer, Medicare, Medicaid or the military, not outstanding tax debt. If you are unable to get health insurance coverage through any of the sources listed above, you are eligible to purchase health insurance through the Marketplace.
Other comments related to current coverage through the federal government sponsored Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan. Many individuals were not aware that this plan terminates as of December 31, 2013 and that enrollees in the plan will need to buy individual coverage through their state Health Insurance Marketplace prior to that date for coverage to begin on January 1, 2014.
Finally, a lot of people commented that they have health insurance through their employers but the coverage was not very good and/or it was very expensive. These people plan to drop their employer coverage and purchase health insurance through the marketplace. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that. If you choose to buy an individual plan through the marketplace instead of accepting your employer-sponsored plan, you likely will not qualify for financial assistance (tax subsidies) with your premiums. And remember, most employers pay at least 50% of an employee’s premium.