It is finally here, Open Enrollment 2018!
Tomorrow you will be able to enroll for insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act for the 2018 plan year. Here is what you need to know:
- Open Enrollment lasts from November 1st to December 15th in most states.
- Premiums have increased in most areas. We have actually spoken to consumers who have been told their premiums are increasing by 50%.
- Deductibles are also going up.
There are ways to offset these new costs or eliminate them altogether. However, you will need a licensed agent to help you navigate these changes.
Our team is standing by and ready to assist you with these changes. Please call 1-888-630-3826 or schedule an appointment.
What is the Penalty?
People are very concerned about the Affordable Care Act penalty if they do not have what is called “Minimum Essential Coverage.”
First, what exactly does “Minimum Essential Coverage” mean? Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) is any plan that falls into several categories. Below are a few types of plans, a full list can be found at www.healthcare.gov
- Any job-based plan including retiree plans
- Medicare Part A or Part C (does not include Part B)
- Most Medicaid Plans
- Most Student Plans
- Some VA Plans
If you are not enrolled in one of the MEC plans you are potentially subject to a penalty that must be paid with your taxes. So how much is the penalty?
There are two possible totals that you can pay, but you only pay whichever is greater:
Percentage of income
- 2.5% of household income
- Maximum: Total yearly premium for the national average price of a Bronze plan sold through the Marketplace
- $695 per adult
- $347.50 per child under 18
- Maximum: $2,085
That is the penalty maximums and it can only be collected if you voluntarily pay it or if it is witheld from your tax refund. There is no liens, judgements, etc. that can be applied to you for not paying the penalty.
Why does this matter?
Some people do not find that the ACA MEC plans are affordable to them. In fact, this is the rule not the exception. So what options do you have?
There are plans out there that do not meet ACA requirements but have much lower premiums, and, for healthy people, often have better coverage. What you need to look at is how much you will save in premiums vs how much the penalty will cost. That determines which is the better option for you.
There are other factors to look at that a licensed agent will help you navigate. Request a quote today to get a call from an agent who can walk you through all of the plan options.
In the age of the internet anyone can go and buy an insurance plan without speaking to an agent or a broker but is this really a good idea?
Insurance is complicated and without proper training it is virtually impossible to understand all of the policies and how they work. An agent helps you understand exactly what you are getting with a policy and how it works as well as any exclusions.
With the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act and what Congress is or is not going to do, it is more important than ever to not try and do this by yourself.
All agents are not the same. Some agents only work for one carrier and will only give you options with that carrier. That means there might be other options out there that would be better but you will never hear about those from these types of agents. These are also called “captive” agents.
Other agents are actually brokers. They work for you. You do not pay them and they can shop around for a plan from many different carriers and can build a custom plan for you that fits your budget and healthcare needs. This is the type of agent that you want to go with when shopping for insurance.
The bottom line is don’t try to do this alone. Know what you are getting with the help of a licensed agent. To get free quotes from a broker fill out this brief form today.