Today in Chicago it is HOT. They are saying with the humidity, it is like 106 degrees. While the day is heating up, the weather decides it will throw a thunderstorm at us. The heat can be misleading at times. The same goes with health insurance with health care reform. Change is coming, but not the way you want it to.
Recently released, two major health insurance companies will be qualifying all non-grandfathered plans. A non-grandmother plan is any new, or change of coverage, on or after March 23, 2010. This means ANY change of coverage. You think you keep it, if you like it. However, before the thunderstorm starts, we are seeing the lightning in the near distance.
Is it good change? Possibly …
But probably not …
Some are anticipating this storm to be bigger than it has been before. Open enrollment starts on November 15th, 2014, 45 days before the policy cancels. It will be like the 100-year flood. It is here. Right now. When this flood pours in, you need to have your checklist: Raincoat, check. Change of clothes, check. Food and supplies, check. Kayak and paddles, check.
Your health insurance is no different. We can fight and complain all we want, but this 100-year flood is coming. So you have choice – grab a kayak, a paddle and supplies, or swim with the sharks. Checkmate!
It is your call …
There is not much time to consider your options. Working with a professional that has been involved with ACA and changes to health insurance for individual, families and employers. Here are a couple of things to consider adding to your checklist:
- Look at your actual claims usage. Many times, it's a balance between premium and benefits. Having a very low deductible may cost you so much more than a higher deductible. Just do the math. The numbers will speak for themselves.
Buyers beware: Insurance agents generate revenue from a percentage of the premium. They have a financial incentive to drive you towards lower deductibles, especially if you are receiving a tax credit. Just be aware of this.
- Determine if you qualify for a tax credit. For the most part, the plans are identical, with a tax credit or not. If you qualify, this will lower your promotions. Some call this the "Obamacare Plan" or a "Government discount". It's the same thing as the tax credit. The premiums are only reduced by the amount you qualify for.
Insider Tip: The best advice is to round your income UP, not down. Sure, rounding up brings down the amount of the tax credit. But if you are wrong, you could owe 100% of the tax credit back. We want to minimize the financial blow. If you qualify for more, you will receive a larger tax refund when you file your taxes. Everyone's tax credit will be different. So do not compare yours with your neighbor's or family members.
This can be confusing and overwhelming. Seek professional help if needed. If you own a business, the rules and recommendations change a little, but not too much.
It is about being prepared. Make sure you have your checklist completed or you will be swimming with the sharks.