Health Insurance Exchange debuts: The Basics

obamacare is here

Wendy Jackson, with Independence Blue Cross, provides information on health care reform today. Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Health Insurance Exchange debuts

Obamacare is here. On March 23, 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed in to law. Today the most important piece started, the Open enrollment period on the Health Insurance Exchange. Today Americans across the United States totaling 48 million who are uninsured and lack sufficient Health Care Coverage will be able to review and start signing up for plans on either their states Health Exchange, or one of the Exchanges managed by the Federal Government through HealthCare.gov

The first day of the launch has resulted in a very slow website, we have tried several times to create an account unsuccessfully but based on the 50 or so million individuals that will be considering using the exchange this is to be expected on the first day.

What do we expect in terms of enrollment and usage of the exchange? In 2013-2014 it is expected 7 million people will used the exchange to buy private health insurance, based on CBO estimates, additionally 9 million individuals are expected to enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as part of the Medicaid Expansion Provision of the PPACA.  The premium rates across the country have been below what analyst had expected based on information released by the department of Health and Human Services last week. According to the Department of Health and Human Services. Prices will vary widely from community to community and from household to household. And people with higher incomes will have to pay the full sticker price.

The early days of the six-month sign-up period will likely be rocky. The federal government and several states already have delayed some functions of the exchanges as computer glitches surfaced.

What we know so far

  • If you want to apply for plans on the Health Insurance Exchange – It can be done online, in person, on paper, or by telephone
  • There are various variable that will determine final pricing and subsidies such as applicant’s age, income, location, family size, and smoking status.
  • Individuals, who earn up to four times the poverty level, or about $46,000 for a single person, are eligible for tax credits or subsidies.
  • Medicaid will be expanded in certain states, Making Medicaid benefits available to people who make up to 133 percent of the poverty level, or around $15,000.
  • All Health plans purchased on the exchanges will go into effect Jan. 1 2014, if it is selected by Dec. 15.
  • Insurance plans purchased on the exchange after December 15, maybe subjected to a waiting period of a few weeks.
  • People who currently have a health plan or other comparable health benefits from their employers do not need to use the exchange, and will see little impact.
  •  Americans that are part of various federal government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, part of the VA will also not use the exchange.
  • There are various rules set in place by the IRS of which group will be exempt from the Federal requirement.

 

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