September 20, 2018

Family Checkbook: Test your health insurance knowledge

08 November 2017, 12:37 | Rodolfo Wallace

Credit Andrew Harnik AP

Credit Andrew Harnik  AP

Still, experts are encouraging those shopping for coverage not to worry.

The Mobile County Health Department and Family Health have nearly two dozen Certified Application Counselors ready to assist anyone who needs help enrolling for next year's insurance.

The federal poverty level ranges from a single person making around $12,000 annually to a family that makes $48,000 annually.

The elimination of the cost sharing reduction subsidy left insurers on the hook for millions of dollars of discounts they are required to provide to low-income customers under the ACA.

Off-exchange plans aren't subsidized.

Unfortunately, the administration's efforts to sabotage health insurance markets have resulted in significantly increased premiums for the people who don't qualify for subsidies. Some of these plans also generally allow enrollees to visit a wider range of doctors and hospitals. That discourages people from signing up, and the program spirals downward.

The law does not require me to have health insurance.

If you enrolled a year ago, there may be better options this time around.

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Consumers who have sought assistance from agents and brokers in the past have been extremely satisfied.

A four-person household headed by a hypothetical 50-year-old could make almost $37,000 and be eligible for free "bronze" coverage.

It's easy to see why agents and brokers are popular. And because premium subsidies are based on the price of the second-lowest-cost silver plan, subsidies are going up, too. In California, for instance, agents and brokers signed up 525,000 people for exchange plans in 2014.

Officials at state exchanges reported an uptick as well.

Multiple attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress, as well as recent changes to subsidies and policy structure, have led to confusion in an already tedious enrollment process.

Despite what you may have heard about what has been happening in Washington, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land, and with open enrollment for plans covering 2018 now underway, I want to make sure that everyone has the information and resources they need to get health coverage.

In 2016, under a new governor, a Republican who opposed Obamacare, all advertising was cut and within two years, ACA enrollment in the state went from 106,300 in to 81,200. Normally, the federal government spends some $100 million nationwide on advertising encouraging people to sign up for health care; this year, it's spending $10 million.

Former Democratic candidate Mary Headrick, who sought election to the U.S. House to represent the 3rd Congressional District of Tennessee in 2014, has urged the people of her state to not give Obamacare a pass due to some pre-conceived negative notions promoted by people on the other side of the political aisle.

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