Starting October 1st of this year, Americans will be able to shop for health insurance coverage through state and national insurance exchanges, as a provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act.
When will coverage begin?
Coverage will begin January 1st of 2014. But, you’ll only have six months to take advantage. If, by March 31, 2014 you aren’t enrolled in a health insurance plan (either through a private insurance company or through the health insurance exchange), you’ll face a fine of one percent of your yearly income or $95, whichever is higher. And not only that, that fee will increase every year, on top of any other health care costs. If you have health insurance through your employer, you will not be fined, as you will meet the requirements. as long as you are covered.
What will be my options?
The state you reside will determine your coverage options. Some states will have their own exchange, while others will be federally run. North Carolina residents, for example, will only have the option of a federally-run exchange.
What will these plans include?
They will include all “essential health benefits” like:
Ambulatory patient services
Maternity and newborn care
Mental health and substance disorder services
Rehab and habilitative services and devices
Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
Some services won’t apply to everyone. for example, dental coverage is considered essential for children, but not adults. So if you need dental coverage, it will have to be purchased separately.
Will my children be covered?
Your children will be covered under your plan if they are under the age of 26. If they turn 26 during 2014, they can enroll in a plan even after the March 31 cutoff date.
What about Medicare?
Medicare is not part of the health exchange, and as a result, if you are enrolled in medicare part A, you will not have to enroll in the exchange, and will not be charged.
For those over the age of 65, you may be eligible for medicare, in which case you wouldn’t have to purchase coverage through the exchange. If you are a retiree under the age of 65 with health coverage, you may qualify for lower premiums through the exchange.
For more information on the new Health Care Exchange and how it will affect you, visit HealthCare.Gov.