Affordable Care Act, Where We Are Now

Before the Affordable Care Act was passed, the number of Americans without health insurance has been estimated to be as high as 44 million. Current statistics indicate that about 7.26 million have enrolled in the program so far. Every citizen is required by law to get insurance. If you don’t have health insurance through work, enrolling will keep you from getting hit by an IRS-enforced tax/fine.

Prior to ACA’s enactment, 18% of American adults had no health insurance. In 2014, eight million people signed up for health insurance, dropping uninsured to about 14%. Thirty million are expected to remain uninsured, even after a few more years of enrollments. Health insurance is clearly something that still needs to be addressed.

States have the right to choose two different paths concerning Medicaid money. They can expand Medicaid availability by partnering with the Federal Government on the Marketplace Exchange. If they choose to do so, then more federally-funded Medicare dollars become available to those states. In states that expanded Medicaid, the uninsured fell from 28% to 17%, but in states that didn’t, the average uninsured rate only fell from 38% to 36%.

North Carolina is not moving forward with Medicaid Expansion at this time and is not alone in this choice. In fact about 50% of our country (23 states) chose to not pursue Medicaid Expansion. These states have chosen to not use the federal end of the Marketplace website. They have chosen a route that has less federal red tape.

About 90% of those who remain uninsured are unaware that there is another enrollment window. The Marketplace is full of all kinds of useful information to help folks make decisions about policies, a better understanding of health insurance basics, where to go for additional help. Small business owners can find plan options there as well.

The next enrollment window is November 15, 2014 – February 15, 2016. This will be for coverage that starts as soon as January 1, 2015. Outside of this enrollment window, you can’t sign up unless you have a life-changing event, such as getting married, having a baby, job loss, or moving outside your current insurance’s covered area. With most rules, there are exceptions and ACA is no different: Medicaid and CHIP (Child Health Insurance Program) is available for enrollment year round.

People who have the greatest need for health insurance are usually the poorest. They are typically the least informed, least educated, and last to know about changes in the law, probably due to limited access to the internet, news, etc. They tend to have poorer health and some have had to often rely on Emergency Rooms for ordinary medical care. They are the group that will have the hardest time paying the penalties for failing to comply with the law. Obviously, this is a niche that needs to be educated about Marketplace and Medicaid/Medicare/CHIPS options.

Check out the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can compare plans (similar to shopping for airline tickets) even find out if you’re eligible for tax credits, which is based on income. Subsidies are available to offset the expense of ACA policies. Up to 400% of the poverty line qualify. That’s about $97K/yr gross income. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina can give you more information, and sign-up details. Getting a policy is probably going to be a better decision than paying the non-compliance tax.

ACA There was Much Kicking and Screaming

Despite all the grumbling the Affordable Care Act is here its law. Now it is time to make it work for you. For the first time health insurance is available to almost everyone. Take advantage, get ailments treated, cover and protect your children, all the things you couldn’t afford before. Hurry enrollment ends March 31. I offer personal service, answers to your questions, help getting your subsidies, and finding a plan works for you. Do it now.

Affordable Healthcare Act: Benefits and Possible Downsides

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been fraught with controversies from the very start, and now, even months after its introduction, the controversies show little signs of abetting. Debates are alive as to the good and the bad sides of it and wedged between the claims of the supporters and the detractors of the new plan, people in large still seem to be in a lot of confusion. The following are the most salient points in regard to the pros and cons of the new healthcare plan.

Let us start with the positive sides. The primary aim of ACA was to include the possible biggest number of population under health insurance coverage. It is estimated that, starting from 2014, as many as 32 million Americans, who could not afford any health coverage until now, will be covered by the new healthcare plan. Among these are included 3.1 million Americans aged 19-25 who can now be added to the health insurance plans of their parents. Many of these young people are known to be working at various jobs and who still couldn’t afford any health insurance. In addition, no insurance company will, from now on, be able to deny coverage to patients with serious pre-existing conditions. The companies will also not be able to drop members from a plan when they get sick.

Most people are also expected to enjoy healthcare at reduced costs thanks to the new plan. Many may see a rise in the monthly costs of the more or less identical coverage’s, but the newer plans also come with lesser deductibles and annual out-of-pocket expenses. This means the overall costs of the similar plans will come down significantly for most people. Many are also of the opinion that the new plans will make preventative care more accessible. Importantly also, the new plan is expected to reduce the big budget gaps due to Medicare. The budget deficit is expected to get reduced by as much as $143 billion in five years from now.

On the downside, many fear that the Affordable Care Act will translate in higher medicine costs. According to the new plan, the pharma companies will need to pay $84.8 billion extra in fees over the period of the next ten years. This may result in rising drug costs if the companies look to pass the burden of this extra pay on to the consumers. Many have also predicted that America will reel under a huge shortage of health care workforce by 2020 as a result of some new mandates included in ACA. An AAMC study reveals that the shortage can be as huge as of 91,500 physicians by 2020.

Many people have also complained that they have found it extremely difficult to pin down the right plan for themselves from among the maze of all the different plans available. For example, someone residing in North Carolina may find it quite a challenge to visit the website of Blue Cross Blue Shield NC and find the suitable plan for herself all on her own. This is largely owing to the sheer number of different coverage schemes available under the new plan. Therefore, most people in North Carolina would need help of a BCBSNC agent who will help his client narrow down his choices and would explain in detail why certain schemes should be more beneficial to them than the others.

If you need help navigating the Blue Cross Blue Shield NC website and the schemes listed thereof and would like to engage the services of a BCBSNC agent, please feel free to contact us today.

ACA, Why You Need a Trusted Insurance Agent to Guide You

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ACA, Why You Need a Trusted Insurance Agent to Guide You

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) greatly helped demystify health insurance in USA. In a bid to make health care affordable to all segments of the population, health insurance was stratified into four broad categories namely; the bronze plan, the silver plan, the gold plan, and the platinum plan. The use of the metals to refer to the different plans is what led to the plans being dubbed metallic plans.

The metallic plans are supposed to guide the cumulative cost of the premiums as one moves from the lower metal plans to the highest metal plan. However, consumers are advised to be careful when shopping for health insurance since it is actually possible to get a company that has cheaper gold plan that another company’s silver plan. An independent health insurance agent can help furnish you with this and related information and advice on the best course of action.

Even though Affordable Care Act proposed the 4 plans, there is no legislation stipulating that every health insurance company should offer all the four metallic plans. However, ACA requires every company to at least have the silver and gold plans. A consumer could easily get confused when dealing with a company that offers only silver and gold plans and think that only two plans exist. This underscores the importance of working with a good health insurance agent. The Blue Cross Blue Shield NC (BCBSNC) agents will help you understand these metallic plans to avoid such misconceptions.

Whichever metallic plan you settle for, it should provide all the fundamental health benefits. Depending on your state, there might be some statutory requirements for other add-on services to each plan. Even though all the plans provide similar fundamental services, the amount covered by the different plans differs and that is the main reason why they don’t have a uniform cost.

Most consumers stick to their health insurance under the illusion that they will benefit from incentives given to loyal customers. Some consumers picked a plan a couple of years ago when that was the best deal they could get on the market and have never bothered to review it. Even though it is often true that your longevity as a customer might give you a better deal, it is sometimes a huge fallacy that could lose you a lot of money in the long run. The Blue Cross Blue Shield NC staff will provide you with real time information that can help you make an informed decision to avoid such loses.

Relying on an online calculator might not be the best way to go. Even though these calculators often give a relatively close estimate, it is always better to work with a real agent. BCBSNC agents have the knowledge, expertise and experience needed in comparing the cost implications of different plans available on the market. Whenever one’s needs change, it might be necessary to review the health insurance package. For instance, a new couple expecting their first baby may want to ensure maternity is covered in the health insurance. A good health insurance agent will advise the couple on how best to make such adjustments.

Why a Personal BCBSNC Agent is Better Than a Navigator

In the wake of the recent health reforms, the Affordable HealthCare Act provisions and the plans one may opt for under the act have left many people in some confusion. For example, if North Carolina residents look to find an affordable and useful healthcare plan from the website of Blue Cross Blue Shield NC at http://www.bcbsnc.com/, this can be quite a challenging task. This is where a health insurance agent can help you out. An agent will help his client navigate through the maze of plans that are in offer and can help him enroll outside the government exchanges.

One may ask, won’t a navigator do the same? Not quite. The government had announced back in August this year that the original federal funding of $54 million on ‘navigators’ training and management had been increased to $67 million. The navigators are expected to assist people enroll in healthcare plans through government exchanges. However, at the same time that the government was agreeing to such a large expenditure on navigators, they had also handed off authorization to at least six insurance brokers for enrolling people in health insurance plans under Affordable HealthCare Act.

What is the bottom line of this? Well, this amounts to federal government admitting to the fact that the navigators could not provide people sufficient help in enrolling for the right plans. The reason for this is that the navigators are not allowed by law to proffer advice to consumers on which health insurance to choose. This law was primarily in place to ensure transparency in health care. The navigators are prohibited from making direct recommendations to people. To work as a navigator, one cannot have any ties with health insurance companies, and they also need to undergo an online training session which instructs them on how to avoid bias and stay neutral. So, all that navigators are allowed to do is to tell people what plan can be ideal for them, and that is that. They are not authorized to give explanations!

However, precisely this is where an insurance agent can be of help to people looking for the proper health plan to subscribe to. With confusion reigning regarding ACA, what people are looking for are recommendations and personalized advice. They need to know how they are going to benefit by subscribing to a particular plan. When it comes to Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, many may similarly find it somewhat difficult to navigate the website on their own and fish out the most useful information for themselves. Options are aplenty and with all the many different products available such as Blue Options HAS, Blue Advantage, Blue Medicare, Blue Options SM, an individual consumer may often feel at a loss about what plan to choose.

This is where a reputable North Carolina insurance agent can come to your aid. He will listen to your healthcare needs and would be able to recommend the right plan for you. You can also enroll to a plan through BCBSNC with the help of an agent. If you want to sign up under ACA using an insurance agent it will not cost you anything outside the plan. It is also important to understand that the agents do not sell health insurance. They will help you find the right plan, would give you useful advice and help you find the answers to your questions so that you can make a studied and informed choice regarding your health insurance coverage.

Don’t Break Bad Find a NC Health Plan Agent Who Cares

Breaking Bad just ended with its last episode. Now imagine how the story would have ended if Walt had affordable NC health insurance that covered his cancer in the first place. The lesson here is to always be prepared. That’s what health insurance and the Affordable Care Act is all about. Starting January 1, 2014 everybody would need to avail of their health insurance coverage or else pay a fine when they file their income tax returns on April. The beautiful thing about this is that this law has made it significantly easier for people to have health care that’s really affordable. The fine is meant to coax those who are complacent enough not to avail of this very great benefit. Hopefully with this, there won’t be a need to break bad on yourself and your family. If Walt had met an agent who was well versed with his specific requirements, the story would have been very different.

For the many busy people out there, going through an additional pile of paperwork and requirements can sometimes be too much most notably if you are already suffering from a pre-existing condition. Understanding how the Health Insurance Marketplace works does take some time to research and get to know specifically if you are averse to the idea of forced insurance in the first place. This is where an insurance agent can help the most. The agent will know a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum plan can work for you. Each has their own benefits and may be provided by a private insurance company with their own advantages. For instance, NC health plans are provided by several companies which include NC Health Insurance or Asheville Health insurance.

After you have presented your personal and household information, the appropriate health plans are then shown to you. The real issue here is not only in finding the exact NC Health insurance plans that works for you, it’s about securing your health and your family’s future. It is highly recommended that you choose an experienced Health insurance agent.

You need a dependable agent who is experienced, licensed and authorized. Not only that, you will need someone who will take your interests at heart. You see, the Affordable Care Act was designed because something was broken with the system back then. There was a time when selling insurance was about getting a buyer and then raising the premiums. With the passing of this law, raising the premiums is no longer allowed. It is in essence, a law that was designed to fulfill the real intention of making health care affordable for all.

All-in-all the Affordable Care Act is about helping you map out your future so you can prepare your family for the worst should the unforeseen and the unexpected arise. A good insurance agent should be somebody who is willing to go the extra mile to see to it that you and your family would continue to share good times with each other even when that dreaded call from the doctor comes. Life should be lived at the fullest but it should also be lived with responsibility. The options out there are many. Choose wisely so that you can manage not only your finances well but most of all, your future.

Health insurance for everyone is what the Affordable Care Act is all about. Starting January 1, 2014 everybody would need to have health insurance coverage or else pay a fine. You need a dependable agent who is experienced, licensed and authorized to help you find your way around. Not only that, you will need someone who will take your interests at heart.