The time to purchase or make changes to your HEALTH INSURANCE
by Jeannie Holliday CFA, CDFA™
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) makes sure that everyone can purchase insurance even if you have a pre-existing condition. Thanks to the ACA, decisions like changing jobs, starting your own company and retiring no longer depend on whether or not you can get insurance. Everyone can now get insurance, however, the affordable part is up for debate. Since it reduces the cost for those who are high risk, it increases significantly the price for those of us that had been considered preferred. It also increases the cost for young males since insurance companies cannot discriminate between males and females and must also cover pregnancy.
Consider the following:
· Nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance according to a study published by the American Journal of Public Health in 2009. People don’t get things checked out when they don’t have insurance.
· People who lack insurance have worse access to care than those that are insured.
· Financially it can lead to paying hospital bills for long periods of time – money that could be used on a house payment or to purchase transportation.
· Parents tend to help their adult children pay medical bills jeopardizing their own retirement.
· Not having insurance could lead to a “medical bankruptcy.”
I am a Financial Advisor who does not sell health insurance. However, I believe this is critical to your financial well-being and want to make sure everyone understands the rules. It is imperative that you get insurance during the open enrollment period of November 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016. If you don’t have insurance – now is the time to get it. If you do have health insurance, make sure you have the right policy for your needs and, if your adult children don’t have insurance, discuss it with them. It is that important!! Your car is worth $15,000 to $35,000 and you insure it paying $100 to $200 a month. Your house is worth a finite amount and you insure it. Your health risk could be any amount. Shouldn’t you insure it with the same vim and vigor?
1. Open Enrollment starts November 1, 2015 and ends on January 31, 2016, however, it is best to sign up by December 15, 2015 so that your coverage will start on January 1, 2016. Corporate plans will also allow you to make changes to your benefits during open enrollment. You must purchase or change plans within that period. If you miss this window, there won’t be any way to get insurance, or to change to a different plan, for the rest of 2016 unless you lose coverage during the year by losing a job, getting divorced or moving.
2. You may be entitled to more financial help. A two-person household can get a tax credit to offset part of the premium if their annual income is below $63,720. Healthare.gov has an easy-to-use calculator to assess what types of subsidies and discounts you’re likely eligible for. If you are not eligible for a subsidy, contact a health insurance agent. You may find a plan that works better for you outside of the exchange, contact a health insurance agent.
3. The cost of your plan could change—a lot—from year to year. Health insurance premiums reset every year, based on the insurance companies’ projections of how much they need to collect to cover their members’ health care costs. And in 2016, as in previous years, changes are all over the map — up significantly for some plans in some localities, down in others. If you already have insurance and don’t do anything, your plan will automatically renew for 2016. Even though insurance companies had to return premium payments last year, they are increasing them again this year. It’s not fair and I wish it wasn’t happening, but they are taking advantage of the system.
4. The penalty for not having insurance is going up the higher of 2.5 percent of household income or $695 per person. The actual cost could be much higher. If you have a hospital stay, the cost can run into the thousands and even millions of dollars. Lack of insurance is one of the main reasons people in our country go bankrupt. Although the cost of insurance is unbelievably high, it can prevent a medical emergency from ruining you financially.
Get help. Insurance Agents are paid by insurance companies to help you. It does not impact the amount you pay. Health insurance is complicated and you need to use a professional. If you don’t know someone see the Government’s web-site, ask your Financial Advisor or Insurance Agent or ask me for a referral.
Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Securities are not deposits, not insured by FDIC or any other government agency, not guaranteed by First National Bank of Pasco, and are subject to risks, including the possible loss of principal. Independent Financial Services and First National Bank of Pasco are independent of Raymond James Financial Services.
Any opinions are those of Jeannie Holliday and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members.