What Is the Healthcare Exchange and What Do You Need To Know About It?
What Is It?
You may have heard it called the Health Insurance Exchange, the Health Insurance Marketplace, or the Healthcare Exchange. Don’t let all the names confuse you because they refer to the SAME thing (for your information, the official name is the Health Insurance Marketplace). According to Wikipedia, Healthcare Exchanges are “organizations set up to facilitate the purchase of health insurance in every state of the United States in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Marketplaces provide a set of government-regulated and standardized health care plans from which individuals may purchase health insurance eligible for federal subsidies.” Basically, the Healthcare Exchange is an online website where consumers can go to view and purchase all the new Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) compliant healthcare plans available in their state.
What Do You Need To Know About It?
• If you do not currently have health insurance, federal law requires you to obtain it or be charged a fine of $95 or 1% of your income, whichever is larger, on your 2014 tax return. There is one exception: if insurance will cost more than 8% of your income, you’re exempt from the fine.
• Plans became available for purchase on October 1, 2013 and coverage will begin January 1, 2014, according to federal law.
• Anyone can use the Healthcare Exchange tool, but it is specifically for individuals who do not currently have insurance or are unhappy with their current coverage.
• You can compare all available plans side-by-side.
• You can search plans based on personal factors like income, family size, etc.
• No plan can turn consumers away or charge more because of an existing illness or medical condition.
• Men and women receive the same price for the same plan, no exceptions.
• The marketplace is run by your state or federal government, not a private company.
• It is intended to be easy. Easy to understand and easy to find a plan that fits your needs and budget.
• Plans are categorized into four different groups: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Bronze being the cheapest and platinum being the most expensive.
• If you purchase a plan at the marketplace, your price will be locked in for 2014. Your insurer can increase premiums the following year, but you can also shop around for a new plan.
Want To Know More?
To find out more about the Healthcare Exchange and to shop for plans specific to Colorado, call us here at Rocky Mountain Health Brokers at 303-523-7650 or check out the resources available to you on our website including information about The Affordable Care Act and Obamacare.