From here on I will refer to the Patient Protection & Affordable Health Care Act as PPACA for short. This law is the largest piece of legislation that has ever been passed in the USA. With that said, things change often with how this law will be implemented. Different pieces of government such as the states, IRS and various other areas of the Federal government are figuring out how to enact this law. Also, insurance companies are also trying to figure out how to comply with the law. I will have posts every Wednesday that will bring up different issues that most people don’t know about and what they could mean to you. This law will have the greatest impact on small businesses and people that obtain their coverage in the individual (including families) market.
Today, I specifically am going to address those that have coverage in the individual market. If you have major medical coverage, do you know what happens to your policy in 2014? First, major medical policies will be required to comply with one of the government defined plans; bronze, silver, gold or platinum; and also be required to cover the additional conditions (braces and pre-existing conditions, for example). This coverage will be more expensive in cost, but whether you pay more will depend on what your government subsidy is. I will cover subsidies in another article in the next week or 2. So, what am I getting at with this article?
When will your policy turn into a policy that complies with the government plans or as we call it, “Metalicize” (get it, turn into one of the governement “metal” plans)? That depends on what your insurance company decides. I currently have Blue Cross / Blue Shield (BC/BS, which I obtained when I knew a lot less) and I called them yesterday to see if I could get a straight answer. I could not. The person didn’t know. I don’t blame him as I believe BC/BS is still trying to determine what they will do. Other insurance carriers have said you can keep your current policy, as it is defined, through the end of 2014 and others have said you can keep your current policy until your anniversary date. Also, what companies are currently allowing could change as we get closer to the implementation of the PPACA. This means that if you are wondering how the PPACA will affect you and want to evaluate what this will mean to your family, now is the time to act to make sure you have the most options. I suspect that as we get closer to the opening up of the public exchanges, some insurance coverage options will go away with some companies. I can’t say for sure, but I can say that things are changing all the time.
Lastly, there was an encouraging piece of information I received this week. It stated definitively that licensed health insurance agents can earn a commission on selling policies on the public (government) exchanges. Ok, that is obvious why I think that is a good thing, but why is it good for the consumer? Because, when you work with a good agent/consultant, they will help you explore all your health insurance options whether they are on the public exchange or not.
Much more to come…