Need To Know Answers To Your Health Insurance Exchange Questions
Since the Affordable Care Act passed, it is now mandatory for most Americans to have health insurance
. Though some Americans are exempt from paying the fine for not having health insurance, which will show up on your 2015 income taxes, becoming exempt is very difficult. So, youre most likely going to have to go on the health insurance exchange and find health insurance for your family.
But what is the health insurance exchange? What does it offer? Where can you find it? Here is all the information youll need on the health insurance exchange.
SEE ALSO: Do You Really Need Insurance?
What Is A Health Insurance Exchange?
A health insurance exchange is an online marketplace where people can buy insurance
. Though many people get their health insurance coverage through their employer, those who cannot or would prefer to find a different plan can use a health insurance exchange. There are three different types of health insurance exchanges:
- Federally facilitated marketplaces are run by the national government
- State-based marketplaces offer health insurance through the state government
- State partnership marketplaces use both national and state channels, which share responsibility for the health insurance exchange. The state has the responsibility of managing customer service and some operational functions.
Regardless of how your state runs its health insurance exchange, the enrollment periods are the same. An enrollment period is the span of time you can purchase and set up your insurance plan. The enrollment period for government-run health insurance exchanges stay the same no matter which state you live in.
Who Benefits From The Exchange?
While requiring health insurance might seem like an unconventional way for people to benefit from the healthcare system, people do benefit. The most obvious benefit applies to those that are newly introduced into the healthcare system: they have coverage where they otherwise wouldnt. So, now a greater percentage of Americans can get yearly check-ups or go to the emergency room without fear of paying tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills
Whats more: people cannot be denied coverage for a preexisting condition. This means that those who had avoided coverage before because it was too expensive or they simply could not find it are now covered
. The Affordable Care Act also expanded Medicare and Medicaid coverage in some states, meaning that those who cannot afford insurance are more likely to get it at a lower cost.
What Plans Does The Exchange Offer?
The exchange offers a variety of plans and prices to fit your budget and healthcare requirements. Multiple health insurance companies offer plans through the exchange
, making pricing competitive and affordable for many budgets. Pricing comes in several tiers: minimum, bronze, silver, and gold. As pricing and coverage go up, so do both healthcare benefits and tax credits.
If you decide that you cannot afford any of the health insurance options available through your states health insurance exchange (and you do not already have health insurance), you can pay a $95 fee or one percent of your income on your 2015 income taxes
, whichever is higher. If you cannot even afford this tax, then the government will waive the fee.
SEE ALSO: Lowering Your Insurance Costs Has Never Been Easier
Where Can You Find The Exchange?
Both the state and federal healthcare exchanges can be viewed online
. Find your states exchange by visiting healthcare.gov. You can also get coverage by phone or in-person through an assister. More in-depth information on these options is available through healthcare.gov
The new healthcare law might seem confusing at first, but dont let it scare you. The changes in the healthcare system are meant to make society better by offering healthcare to those who need it the most.