Find out everything you need to know about Obamacare! Money Girl outlines new rules and updates so you can comply with the healthcare law and make sure you and your family are covered.
Change #1: Canceled Health Plans Might Be Allowed
Not only does the ACA require you to have health insurance starting in 2014, but it says that you must have a qualified plan with a minimum set of benefits. Problem is, getting a new and improved plan turns out to be more expensive for many Americans, and President Obama got a lot of flack about it.
As a result, the government recently announced that insurers could allow you to keep your existing health plan through 2014, even if it doesn’t have the minimum benefits to comply with the ACA.
But “could” is an important part of the announcement. Insurance is regulated by states, not the federal government. So the final call on this proposed change is up to the insurance commissioner in each state. Then it’s up to insurers who offer policies in those states, whether renewing canceled policies is a smart business move.
The bottom line is that if your insurance company has told you that your health plan is being canceled, you may still be able to keep it. Just remember that you may not get some of the benefits of other plans under Obamacare.
My recommendation is to shop around and find out if you can get a qualified plan with more coverage for a lower price.
Change #2: High-Risk Pool Coverage is Extended
The Obama administration is also extending coverage for those enrolled in state high-risk pools. These are private plans organized by states to cover certain individuals with pre-existing medical conditions who previously couldn’t get health insurance on the open market or through an employer.
Starting in 2014, Obamacare prohibits insurers from denying you coverage or raising your rate if you have a pre-existing medical condition. So, high-risk coverage was supposed to end on December 31. But it will now continue through the end of January to give high-risk enrollees more time to transition into regular health plans.
Change #3: There’s More Time to Get Enrolled
Another important change to Obamacare is a delay in the deadline for enrolling in coverage. It was moved back from December 15 to December 23 of 2013 after the government’s infamous botched website launch made it difficult for many to shop.
If you miss the deadline, you can still get coverage because open enrollment lasts until March 31. However, if you want coverage to begin on January 1, you must sign up by December 23, 2013.
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