(Announcement by D. Kenton Henry and HealthandMedicareInsurance.com)
Who will end up the winner ― you ― the insured, the insurance companies or Uncle Sam?
As a health insurance broker of 27 years, I and my peers have waiting with baited breath all year to see two things:
First ― will enrollments in 2015 health insurance plans, which begin at midnight tonight, the 15th of November, go more smoothly than last year’s embarrassing debacle that was the glitch plagued Healthcare.gov website which floundered in the death throes of end-stage technology through the entire first year “open-enrollment” period?
Secondly ― what are 2015 premiums and benefits going to look like? By the time you read this, you are about to know. I hope you will be happy with the options available to you, however, I hate to say, I cannot guarantee that. Rumor has it that premiums will be going up at varying rates relative to each of the fifty states. In Texas they are projected to rise an average of 14% above 2014 rates depending on your age. If this is the case and you have coverage you feel is adequate―along with the option of keeping it―that is exactly what you should do. But if you are like a great number of my clients, who have been told your current plan will terminate 12.31.2014, your only options are to forego coverage and pay the penalty (excuse me “shared responsibility tax”) when you file your 2015 tax return. Or purchase one of the new compliant plans.
I cannot control the options you will have but I can present, simplify and guide you to your best value in 2015 health insurance coverage. My quoting link will not only determine if you qualify for and calculate the amount of your subsidy (utilizing the same algorithm employed by Healthcare.gov) but, in the event you do qualify, will allow you to seamlessly take advantage of the subsidy and apply for your health plan selection for the reduced (net) premium. It will illustrate all your options from every carrier both on and off the federal exchange.
I am certain that after reviewing your options you will have numerous questions. I encourage you to email or call me with them. I will answer them and once you have decided upon your best value, I can make the enrollment process go as smoothly and comfortably as possible. I intend to work all through the weekend and make myself available to be best of my ability.
It is currently 10 p.m. CST on the 14th. After midnight click on this link to begin exploring your options and know I greatly anticipate working with you and making this transition period in the health insurance consumer market go as smoothly as possible for you.
Broker, Agent, Editor
Toll Free: 800.856.6556
CLICK HERE FOR 2015 HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS: https://allplanhealthinsurance.insxcloud.com/my-quote/individual-info
*Please return to this page and give us your opinion of your options.
NEW YORK TIMES
14 November 2014
Cost of Coverage Under Affordable Care Act to Increase in 2015
By ROBERT PEAR, REED ABELSON and AGUSTIN ARMENDARIZNOV. 14, 2014
“Consumers should shop around,” said Marilyn B. Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the federal insurance exchange serving three dozen states. “With new options available this year, they’re likely to find a better deal.” She asserted that the data showed that “the Affordable Care Act is working.”
But Republicans quickly pounced on the data as evidence of the opposite.
“Last year, many who liked their plan were surprised to learn they couldn’t keep it,” said Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, who is in line to become chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “This year, many who like their plan will likely have to pay more to keep it.”
The new data means that many of the seven million people who have bought insurance through federal and state exchanges will have to change to different health plans if they want to avoid paying more — an inconvenience for consumers just becoming accustomed to their coverage.
A new Gallup Poll suggests that seven in 10 Americans with insurance bought through the exchanges rate the coverage and the care as excellent or good, and most were planning to keep it.
In employer-sponsored health plans, employees tend to stay with the same insurer from year to year. But for consumers in the public insurance exchanges, that will often be a mistake, experts said.
Nashville illustrates the need for people with marketplace coverage to look closely at the alternatives available in 2015.
Marilyn B. Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the federal health exchange. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
A 40-year-old in Nashville, with the cheapest midlevel, or silver plan, will pay $220 a month next year, compared to $181 a month this year, for the same plan.
The least expensive plan is offered by another insurer, Community Health Alliance, one of the so-called co-op plans created under the federal law. It offers coverage for a monthly premium of $194.
But the lower premium means that consumers will have to pay a much larger annual deductible, $4,000, rather than $2,000. A policyholder who becomes seriously ill or has a costly chronic condition could pay hundreds of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses.
In addition, different health plans often have different networks of doctors and hospitals and cover different drugs, meaning that consumers who change plans may have to pay more for the same medicines.
Another problem for consumers is that if the price for a low-cost benchmark plan in the area has dropped, the amount of federal subsidies provided by the law could be less, meaning that consumers may have to pay more unless they switch.
The data, released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, indicates that price increases will be modest for many people willing to change plans. In a typical county, the price will rise 5 percent for the cheapest silver plan and 4 percent for the second cheapest.
NEW YORK TIMES
Estimate of Healthcare Enrollment Leaves Room to Grow
10 November 2014
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Monday offered a surprisingly modest estimate of the number of people who would sign up for health insurance in the second round of open enrollment, which begins on Saturday.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, said she was working on the assumption that a total of 9.1 million people would have such coverage at the end of next year.
By contrast, the Congressional Budget Office had estimated that 13 million people would be enrolled next year, with the total rising to 24 million in 2016. In the past, the White House has used the budget office numbers as a benchmark for success under the Affordable Care Act.
This estimate appeared to be part of an effort by federal officials to lower public expectations, so the goal would be easier to meet and to surpass. In addition, the new number could indicate that administration officials believe it will be difficult to find and enroll many of the uninsured while retaining those who signed up in the last year.
“The number we are going to aim for this year is 9.1 million,” Ms. Burwell said on Monday during remarks at the Center for American Progress, a liberal research and advocacy group.
Ms. Burwell’s estimate was at the lower end of the range suggested by health policy experts in her department. In a report issued earlier Monday, the experts estimated that, at the end of next year, 9 million to 9.9 million people would have coverage purchased through insurance exchanges, or marketplaces.
Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, said the administration was “trying to manage expectations and rewrite its definition of success ahead of the second open-enrollment period.” Administration officials said they were just being realistic, in the light of experience with other health programs.
President Obama announced in April that eight million people had signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Officials said Monday that enrollment had declined to 7.1 million after some people failed to pay their share of premiums and others were found to be ineligible because of unresolved questions about their citizenship or immigration status.
The Department of Health and Human Services estimated that enrollment, including renewals and new customers, would reach 10 million to 11 million by the end of the three-month sign-up period, which closes on Feb. 15.
However, if Ms. Burwell is right, the number would shrink to 9.1 million people at the end of next year. That would still be a 28 percent increase over the number believed to have marketplace coverage today.
Ms. Burwell’s estimate came as a surprise to insurance counselors, agents and brokers working with the Obama administration.
Anne Filipic, the president of Enroll America, a nonprofit group trying to expand coverage, said the goal of 9.1 million “seems reasonable.” She praised the administration for taking what she described as “a pragmatic, analytic approach” to setting a numeric goal.
Federal health officials said they had ended coverage for 112,000 people who could not demonstrate that they were United States citizens or legal immigrants entitled to insurance under the health care law.
In addition, they said, 120,000 households will lose some or all of the insurance subsidies they have been receiving because they could not adequately document their income. These households will face higher premiums.
In making their estimates, federal health officials said, they assumed that 83 percent of the people with marketplace coverage — 5.9 million of the 7.1 million people in “qualified health plans” — would renew their coverage.
The intense political debate swirling around the Affordable Care Act does not make the job of enrolling people any easier, officials said.
Republicans like Tom Cotton in Arkansas and Joni Ernst in Iowa won Senate races in which they emphasized opposition to the health care law, as did successful Republican House candidates like Mia Love in Utah and Ryan Zinke in Montana.
Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, the chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, said that people were skeptical of the law and “aren’t signing up because they realize it’s not a good deal for them.”
The Supreme Court said on Friday that it would consider a case challenging subsidies paid to more than four million people who obtained insurance through the federal marketplace.
Ms. Burwell said Monday that she did not see the legal challenge as a serious threat to the Affordable Care Act. “As we go into open enrollment,” she said, “nothing has changed.”
Federal health officials said they believed that marketplace enrollment would grow more slowly than projected by the Congressional Budget Office, which sees the total holding steady at 25 million from 2017 to 2024.
Administration officials noted that uninsured people could also get coverage by enrolling in Medicaid or by finding jobs with health benefits.
In a brief analysis of coverage trends, the Department of Health and Human Services said Monday that “most of the new marketplace enrollment for 2015 is likely to come from the ranks of the uninsured,” rather than from people who previously bought insurance on their own outside the exchanges.