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Many Americans are beyond frustrated with the poor quality of the HealthCare.gov website which is continuously crashing and running incredibly slow. There is new information from the Washington Post saying that the government knew the website was not ready for roll-out back on October 1st, but they plowed through anyways. This has left a bad impression for millions of Americans seeking health insurance.
The good news is that officials and tech experts are working frantically to ensure the bugs are worked out as soon as possible. Earlier this week, the President gave a press conference defending the merits of the website and assured the American people that the problems are being worked out. President Obama and his administration recognize that there is no excuse for the poor quality of the website, but it begs the question as to why they let it go live knowing things could go terribly wrong.
Not only are many discouraged from using this website, but some may be discouraged from obtaining health insurance at all. The Obama administration was very nervous about how much interest in the website they would actually receive, and while the overwhelming response is good for Obamacare, it’s not so good for the web developers who have failed the American people. It’s shocking that the President, who you would think has access to the best of the best in web designers, wouldn’t have a rock solid site in place before implementation. Let’s just hope his promises that things will be fixed shortly come true and they didn’t lose too many interested Americans in the process.
Written by Sam Tabes
The debate about health insurance premiums in the new Obamacare environment has been raging for more than a year. When healthcare reform was simply a concept, the idea was that the health insurance consumer would enjoy lower health insurance premiums in the new marketplace environment due to a number of factors such as increased competition, and rating restrictions placed on health insurers among many others.
In many states that were already very heavily regulated– such as New York for example — this has become a reality, but in some states rates the lowest priced plans available are significantly higher than what is available in the marketplace now (2013).
A couple months back I wrote about the difficulties in making rate comparisons with plans previously available, as well as some of the political motivations held by states when releasing statements regarding the rates that would be available on the exchanges in their states. Now, politics aside, the actual 2014 rates can be seen and you can determine specifically how they impact you. Keep in mind, if the lowest priced plan available to you in ’14 is significantly higher than what you could purchase in years past it is likely at least partly driven by a lower deductible or richer benefits that may require lower out of pocket cost in the future.
Last week I wrote about 2014 health insurance rates in Ohio. The lowest priced plan in Ohio for a 27 yr old in Cuyahoga County in 2014 via online marketplace is $151.78/mo. In 2013, in the pre-Obamacare environment, that same individual could purchase a $10,000 deductible policy from Summacare for $43.66/mo. (assuming the customer was healthy).
Sample Florida Health Insurance Rates 2014
Below there is a link to a sortable spreadsheet with Actual Florida health insurance rates in 2014. The rates are for specific customer profiles including
There are a number of ways the data can be sorted, including by metal level (Bronze, Silver etc. ), county, insurer and others. The sortable rate table can be found here.
Florida Health Insurers
While each health insurer may not provide a health plan to all counties across the state, and plans of all metal-levels, the following insurers provide at least one plan to Florida residents via the federal exchange:
Florida Rate Statistics
We would love to hear comments from our readers about experiences that you have had enrolling (or attempting to enroll) in a health plan via the federal insurance exchange at healthcare.gov. We would also love to heat about how your rates changed in this new environment. You can provide us your comments or feedback here.
Written by Jeff Levy
Medicare’s open enrollment is upon us once again and it’s important that those looking to update their Medicare plans get their choices in early. October 15 through December 7 is when all Medicare participants can change their Medicare health plan and prescription drug coverage for 2014. If you are happy with your current Medicare plan there’s nothing to do, but if you need to make changes now’s the time.
Some consumers are getting confused with the health insurance marketplace that recently was made available to the public and Medicare open enrollment. According to the government’s website on Medicare through CMS.gov, the marketplace will have no affect on Medicare coverage. Medicare benefits are not changing and whether you receive coverage through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan, the exchanges should have no impact to Medicare recipients. It’s actually against the law for someone who knows you have Medicare to try and sell you a Marketplace plan.
This is the time to carefully review your Medicare benefits and determine if a change is necessary. The time frame will come and go quickly so best to act now and have the peace of mind that you are completely covered for 2014.
Much has been made of the health insurance rates available via online health exchanges (health insurance marketplaces) established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
I wrote about it here back in August, specifically as it related to how Ohio health insurance rates in the new exchange environment compared to currently prevailing rates in the marketplace. The actual rate tables are now publicly available, as a guide. Rate are included for all metal levels, and from several leading health insurance carriers such as Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Summacare & more.
Sample Rates For Ohio Residents
Below you will see a link that contains actual rates for several customer profiles for Ohio residents, including:
The rates displayed in the spreadsheet can be filtered a number of ways, including by County, health insurance carrier, health plan “metal level“, and rating region among others.
In each rating region, the lowest health insurance premium (excluding catastrophic coverage plans) is shaded green, and the highest is shaded red.
Participating Health Insurance Carriers
Some of the top health insurance companies in the country will be providing health plans on the exchange for Ohio residents including: Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medical Mutual, Summacare, HealthAmericaOne, HealthPlan (formerly Kaiser Permanente), Humana and others.
Some Facts about the Rates
Written by Jeff Levy
One of the key facets of Obamacare is the individual mandate which requires that all Americans enroll in a qualified health plan (QHP) that includes a core set of essential health benefits that all plans must cover. The mandate requires that by march 31st. 2014 all Americans must be enrolled in a health insurance plan or pay a tax penalty.
The open enrollment period for enrolling in health plans via exchanges has been set from October 1st 2013 through March 31st 2014 to coincide with the mandated deadline. However, as recently pointed out in a recent Washington Post article, in order to have a policy in force by the March 31st deadline, you would need to submit an application by February 15th. — Health insurance applications can take as much as 15 days to process, and coverage effective dates typically begin on the 1st of the month following enrollment.
So remember, while enforcement of the individual mandate will be a significant challenge for the IRS, if you are currently uninsured and want to avoid the potential for a tax penalty. Make sure you submit your health insurance enrollment application by February 15th to be safe.
Furthermore, if the IRS wanted an easy way to find people who were in violation of the individual mandate, they could obtain a list of health insurance shoppers who submitted applications for enrollment during the last 30 days of open enrollment period. Although this would clearly be an underhanded move to penalize people who may technically been in violation but were attempting to comply with the law.
Written by Jeff Levy
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