April 30th will mark the end of the last Special Election Period that allowed citizens to extend the time to purchase health insurance in 2015. This specific election period was approved by CMS and made available to people that never bought health insurance in 2014 and discovered that they would owe a penalty for the 2014 tax year.
In a world where you are told that procrastination is terrible and there are bad life consequences for missing deadlines, CMS, our government health administrator, has decreed that folks that waited past the deadline to purchase health insurance for 2015 will get one more shot at signing up!
I wanted to highlight several key developments this week as clients and new friends are finding that they haven't fully understood the implications of the financial subsidies they received from the Marketplace and Obamacare. Over the last few days we've heard from clients that have received 1095-A Forms which show how much they received in subsidies from the US Government and they are now wonder what they need to do with their forms and what they mean.
Recently a fellow health insurance broker and I had a discussion about health insurance premiums and how they are increasing at a rate that will doom the industry in just a few years. We lamented about rising deductibles and ever increasing costs and smaller physician networks. We even ventured into the realm of taxation and how higher income earners will certainly be asked to carry a larger burden in the future. Our howling about how bad things have gotten and how they were better in the old days, ok, just a decade ago, led us to a simple question about the deductibility of health insurance premiums and whether individuals and families could write off their health insurance premiums from their taxes. Since we both had different opinions and we've both been selling health insurance for more than 10 years it is clear that clients need clarification and answers on this important subject. Remember, I'm not a tax preparer or accountant, so these are general rules and you'll need to investigate whether they apply to your situation. Consult your own tax advisor.
The healthcare system is now at a breaking point. The ACA or Affordable Care Act is proving it is now created a situation that is unaffordable. Clients have been pushed into situations where they must make tough decisions as they are now unwilling or unable to make premium payments for plans they feel are too expensive or simply lack enough benefits for the cost. Many clients express what we've discussed for some time now that premiums are more than double what they used to pay and their deductibles are twice as high as well. Finally, because the expense is so high, many are trapped in plans that offer no benefits other than catastrophic coverage at a very high price. The truth is these clients are frustrated and searching for alternatives to their real financial problems. In the last month, Texas Health Design has had conversations about Short Term Health Insurance with more frequency and it is important to describe the benefits, limitations, and potential nasty pitfalls of this approach.
You may have missed the deadline to sign up for health insurance coverage that will begin 1/1/2015, but all is not lost. There still may be an opportunity for you to add coverage in the next few days as there are special circumstances that will permit you to buy coverage if you meet several criteria. We wanted to highlight a few key "secrets" we've seen this year that you need to know that may help you get coverage or at least avoid trouble in 2015.
Confusion Reigns NPN #7644850
The Affordable Care Act continues to be a source of confusion and consternation for many of our clients and readers. Many of the questions we are receiving are centered on financial assistance and the need for clarification from shoppers if they qualify for government help in paying for the high price of health insurance.
The 2014 rollout of the Affordable Care Act was challenging and created great frustration in many insurance policy shoppers. Technological issues hampered many and the size and scope of the changes to the health industry impacted insurers and policy holders alike. As we near the new Open Enrollment Period we wanted to provide readers a list of key rules and issues you need to know as we begin the new plan shopping year.