It is finally here. We are three weeks into open enrollment. The Affordable Care Act has definitely seen its detractors but it has survived up to this point. No matter what happens in Washington D.C., the exchange in California is here to stay (that is, at least for 2014).
So after 3 weeks what have we learned?
- While it has had it’s issues, Covered California has been the most ready exchange in the country
- The federal exchange has been a train wreck
- Pricing is higher, but not as much as expected
- Qualifying for a tax subsidy seems to be a moving target
- Most people still don’t know much about the Affordable Care Act and the mere topic scares them to death
For those of you who are still in the dark about “ObamaCare”, you are not alone. Here is a quick rundown …
Covered California is the new state run exchange that serves as a market place to shop for and purchase health insurance. On the exchange you can see the different carriers, plans, and if you qualify for premium assistance. I was asked the other day, “Do I have to buy on the exchange?” The answer is no. You will be able to purchase health insurance on or off the exchange. As a matter of fact, the only reason to purchase on the exchange is if you want to qualify for a premium subsidy or a tax credit if you are a business owner.
Here a couple of highlights about the new health care law:
- All plans starting in 2014 are guaranteed issue (meaning no one can get decline insurance coverage)
- Everyone will be required to have health insurance or face a penalty
- Businesses with 50 or more employees must offer health insurance (the enforcement of this has been pushed back to 2015)
- All health insurance plans will have minimum essential coverage
As the short history of this legislation has shown, I anticipate more changes to the program in the next few months as we get closer to the actual roll-out of coverage Jan.1, 2014.
I will keep you updated …