Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 8:58 AM
Tuesday October 1st is the first day Ohioans can shop for health insurance on the new health care exchange under the federal affordable health care act.
Want to see sample premium prices?
To read the federal report on exchange prices by state and city released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, click here.
Want to buy?
Go to healthcare.gov
Is healthcare.gov telling you to wait?
If you want to get a general idea of what your premium and options might be, try the “How Much Will Obamacare Cost Me?” Calculator by Kaiser Family Foundation in coordination with NPR.
This morning, health care providers across Northeast Ohio are bracing for questions about the exchanges.
With computer glitches and confusion looming, several advocates and health care providers advised patience today. One said this morning that their clinic was viewing this as a “soft launch.”
Cathy Levine, executive director of the consumer advocacy group UHCAN Ohio, said: “We don’t actually expect anyone to buy on the exchanges the first day,” she said. “They have until Dec. 15 to buy a plan and still qualify for coverage starting Jan. 1.”
The federal government is supporting or fully running the insurance marketplaces in 36 states, including Ohio. Officials have assured the public that the exchanges will open Oct. 1 - despite the government shutdown.
Consumers who can’t get insurance through their workplace can call a toll-free number or go to an online portal to buy it themselves. They can choose between a bronze, silver, gold and platinum plan. Subsidies are granted based on income, and are calculated when the consumer signs up.
According to a federal report released last week, consumers in the Cleveland region will be able to pick from 45 different plans. The lowest cost plan for a 27 year old with an income of $25,000 will be $93 a month after the tax credits.
Jackie Garner with the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services says the website for the federal health insurance exchange is easy: healthcare.gov. “When they shop on the marketplace, they will be able to make an apples to apples comparison.”
Garner explains that the bronze plan that offers higher deductibles and fewer services at a lower price or the platinum plan that offers lower deductibles and more coverage at a higher price.
“And I think people will be very pleased with the actual costs of the plans themselves and for, we estimate a very high percentage of individuals and families will be eligible for extra help and when you take into account that extra help, the plans become even more affordable.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, plans are not allowed to reject people with pre-existing conditions. Ands preventive medical care is part of all of the plans, regardless of the level of coverage chosen.
Ohioans have until December 15th to sign up for a plan in order for coverage to start on January first. There’s one important thing to remember – individuals are required, under the new health care law, to have coverage in calendar year 2014.
“When an individual files their taxes in 2015 for the year 2014, if they did not get credible coverage durng 2014, they run the risk of having a fee assessed through the tax process,” she says. “And the fee that they would be paying in 2015 is approximately $95 dollars per adult or one percent of your annual income, whichever is higher and about half of that for a child.”
The penalty is set to increase in larger increments each year after that. Young Ohioans under the age of 26 can stay on their parent’s health care plan if they want under the new federal law.
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