Insurance representative says many people still in the dark over Affordable Care Act
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
Do you know all of the details about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obama Care?
According to Jack Swarm, a Mt. Pleasant, insurance representative, not a lot of people in the area are as informed as they should be about this new law.
“A big problem is that people just don’t know how this new insurance works,” said Swarm. “If you have noticed, you have never gotten anything in the mail about this new insurance and how it affects you. It is just hard for people to get the real scoop.”
According to Swarm, ACA is a government initiative to get healthcare to every American, whether they buy it privately or get it through work.
“Before, if people wanted to get decent insurance a lot of times you had to get it through your job, so that was a big draw for people to finding a job was to get good insurance,” said Swarm.
Now people can go to healthcare.gov to find out if they qualify for private health insurance, lower costs based on household size and income or Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
One of the big changes to the insurance world, according to Swarm, is that now insurance companies have to accept a person.
“Now insurance has to sell you insurance,” said Swarm. “They can’t deny you. They can’t deny pre-existing conditions or anything like that.
“Now insurance has to cover preventative services at no out-of-pocket cost,” Swarm continued. “They have to take you. It’s a really big deal, and very new, so as a result a lot of insurance companies are scrambling because they don’t really know what to charge anymore.”
According to Swarm, aside from people not knowing about the details in the new insurance law, they also have a hard time applying due to not being able to access the proper technology.
In order to see what they qualify for, a person needs to access the website www.healthcare.gov, which for those who don’t have a home computer or internet access, seeing what insurance they qualify for can be a bit of a difficulty.
Once on the website, people can create an account and fill out personal information which will decide how much of an insurance tax credit they qualify for.
“The federal government is giving tax credits to people to help pay for their insurance,” Swarm said. “It is given on a monthly basis and is based on your monthly estimated income. The general rule is the less money you make the more of a tax credit you are eligible for when you buy this insurance.”
According to healthcare.gov, open enrollment ends March 31, 2014. The proposed open enrollment period for 2015 coverage is from Nov. 15, 2014, to January 15, 2015. If a person does not enroll by March 31, 2014, they cannot obtain private health insurance inside the marketplace (healthcare.gov) until the next open enrollment period starts.
If a person chooses not to purchase insurance from healthcare.gov or does not have their own privately purchased insurance, in 2014, they will have to pay a penalty of one percent of their income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, whichever is higher. This penalty will be applied to their 2015 taxes.