On Dec. 19 President Obama offered stopgap options to those people whose health insurance plans were canceled for not meeting the robust Affordable Care Act guidelines of coverage. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she will use authorities in the law to issue an exemption from tax penalties to those who received cancellations and are not able to find new coverage.
In addition to the penalty exemption, the administration is allowing anyone, regardless of age, to sign up for catastrophic (bare bones) plans originally designed for people under the age of 30. This will allow people to save on premiums if they are willing to assume more potential risk for cost of care. Lastly the Department of Health and Human Services is setting up a dedicated hotline for those who got cancellations at 1-866-837-0677.
These moves are not being well received by the insurance industry. Many are worried that this will increase the instability in the marketplace and lead to further confusion and disruption. On Dec. 18 the insurance industry had announced its own accommodation to ensure people get effective coverage by offering a 10-day extension of the final date to receive premium, pushing the deadline back to Jan. 10 for plans starting January 1. If a significant number of people, especially the young, choose not to sign up or use an exemption, many are worried that not enough healthy people will be paying in and premiums will have to be aggressively adjusted for the 2015 calendar year.
We are living in a very interesting time for healthcare in this country. If you can afford coverage we strongly advise you find coverage that will protect you and your loved ones against the real risk of shattering health care expenses. The federal marketplace is improving in performance and functionality. We are always available to assist you in making sense of the multitude of coverage options available to you either in or out of the marketplace. We are market certified and dedicated to helping our clients find the right coverage for themselves and their family, call or email with any questions.