Health Care Reform (also known as Obamacare) is a national health care plan aimed at reforming the American health care system. Affordable Care Act ACA’s
main focus is to provide more Americans with access to affordable health care, regulate the health insurance industry and reduce spending in health care.
The stated purpose is to increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance. This will be done by expanding Medicaid, by subsidizing premiums for
low income individuals and families, by imposing tax penalties on those who don’t obtain insurance coverage, and by requiring insurance companies to cover
everyone who applies regardless of medical conditions.
Medicaid is the joint Federal and State health program for individuals and families with low incomes. Medicaid recipients are enrolled in a low or no-cost
health plan. In many states the income levels have been increased to allow more people to become eligible for Medicaid in 2014.
If you are not eligible for Medicaid, you may be able to apply for federal subsidies to lower the amount of premium you will pay for health insurance.
These subsidies are available based on income and the size of your household; the lower the income the greater the federal subsidy. The subsidies are only
available if you purchase health insurance through the new exchanges being established in each State. An individual or family may get help with their
premiums if their income is between 138% and 400% of federal poverty level. These subsidies are “advance-able federal tax credits” and require careful
planning to avoid an end of year tax bill. In addition to the premium subsidies, individuals earning less than 250% of poverty may also qualify for a
benefit plan upgrade at no additional cost.
ACA requires all individuals to have health insurance or pay a penalty. The penalty will be the greater of $95 or 1% of your income in 2014. ** The penalty
will be the greater of $325 or 2% of your income in 2015. The penalty will be the greater of $695 or 2.5% of your income in 2016.
Individuals can no longer be denied health insurance coverage because of current or previous medical conditions. Moreover, insurance companies cannot
charge a higher premium because of medical issues. Everyone will pay the same premium based solely on their age and tobacco usage.
In Maryland, licensed and Appointed Health Agents are the only resource authorized to help you choose and select a plan that best meets your needs.***
Agents are also qualified and authorized to review other plan options you may have that are not offered through the new exchange market (such as employer
plans or personal plans).
Atlantic/Smith, Cropper & Deeley is fully staffed and committed to supporting consumers in the new market place created by Health Care Reform.. Your
insurance needs DO NOT end when you purchase a policy. Atlantic/Smith, Cropper & Deeley commits over 80% of their human resources to the servicing of
policies, as compared to only 20% towards the sale of new policies.
*Medicaid income determinations are generally based on Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI), less a 5% standard income disregard.
**Individual Mandate penalty is based on Income above the tax filing threshold. Certain exemptions may apply.
***Source - Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.