Category: HST Blog

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3 Things to Expect in 2014!

What does the New Year hold for Obamacare?? You can expect more delays; this has become the standard fare for the implementation of Obamacare thus far. Do not expect 2014 to be any different. What is most likely to be delayed in the months ahead? One possibility is extensions of the open enrollment period past the current March 30th cut off date. If enrollment numbers remain well below projections by early March, it would not be surprising if the White House pushes the deadline back. Big court decisions: If you think the Affordable Care Act is the settled law of the land, think again. Multiple challenges to the health reform act are working their way through the U.S. judicial system.  The Supreme Court will hear two key cases in 2014 about the Obamacare requirement that employers cover birth control and other reproductive health services. Because 36 states do not operate their own exchanges this could possibly hurt the Obamacare individual mandate. Whatever the change or added benefit at Healthcare Solutions Team our agents will make sure that the coverage that you want and need is easy to obtain through the companies that we use. Remember to let your fingers do …

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Is Obamacare Working?

New polling by Associated Press echoes what Fox News polls have shown that two-thirds of Americans say the new health care law isn’t going well. 71% of those signing up or in a house where someone has tried to sign up have encountered problems. There is no shortage of complaints about the Affordable Care Act, the unfortunately named massive health-care law still roiling the nation. Embarrassing website issues and keep-your-doctor-keep-your-plan backtracking have occupied center stage. There are a handful of ways that we tend to measure the success of health insurance expansions in the United States: • Do more people have health insurance? One key goal of the health law was to reduce the uninsured rate by making it easier for the 48 million Americans without insurance coverage to get it. The Congressional Budget Office projects that about 30 million people will gain coverage over the next decade, compared with a scenario in which the ACA had never passed. This is actually difficult to measure, at least in the short term. The Census Bureau does do annual surveys on insured rates, but those come out on a bit of a delay. The federal agency won’t publish data on 2014, for …

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Naughty Or Nice

At Healthcare Solutions Team we want you to have the facts! So when the time comes to make a decision on your healthcare, you do not find yourself confused on which direction to go. So let’s talk about those “naughty” penalties that are coming to a tax form near you, shall we? Do the penalties apply to you? If you already have health insurance through your employer, you’re off the hook. If you are not covered by your employer, you could be subject to Obamacare penalties if you do not get health insurance coverage for most of the next year. Even if you are not insured for most of 2014, there is still a reasonable chance that the penalties will not apply to you.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that of the 30 million Americans who will not likely have coverage in 2016, only 6 million or so will be subject to financial penalties. Several groups of people are exempted by law from paying the Obamacare penalties. If the lowest-cost insurance plan is more than 8% of your income, for example, you will not get stuck with a fine if you do not obtain coverage.  You can also apply for …

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All That Shimmers Isn’t Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum!

Here are some Pros & Cons of the plans for Obamacare for you to read and try to understand. Pro:Tens of millions of uninsured will get access to affordable quality health insurance through the marketplace. Con: In order to get the money to help insure tens of millions of people, there are new taxes, mostly on high-earners. The taxes that may affect you directly are the individual mandate and employer mandate. Pro: Over half of uninsured Americans can get free or low cost health insurance using their State’s Health Insurance Marketplace. Con: The individual mandate says you have to obtain health coverage by January 2014, get an exemption or pay a fee if you can afford it. Pro: Small businesses can get tax credits for up to 50% of their employees’ health insurance premium costs. Con: The employer mandate says that in 2015 businesses with over the equivalent of 50 full-time employees must provide health coverage. In anticipation some businesses have cut employee hours. Pro:Young adults can stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26 years old. 82% of uninsured adults will qualify for free or low cost insurance. Con:Young people tend to be healthy and do not need …

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A Look At the Year Ahead – 2014

As we watch with amazement at the twist and turns in the whole mystery of the puzzle that is called “Obamacare,” here are some things you need to consider for the year of 2014. States that will not expand Medicaid: Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kanas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. On the fence are: Missouri, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Utah. States that are expanding Medicaid are: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. This means that some people with limited incomes may have fewer coverage options. If you live in a state that is not expanding Medicaid, you may not qualify for either Medicaid or reduced costs on a private insurance plan. It will depend on where your income falls. Now that the changes are in motion you still have the right to be in control of your health insurance coverage. We have options for you. All you need to do is contact Healthcare Solutions Team and take the …

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A Happy Holidays To You!

2013 has been a wild ride hasn’t it? There has been bad news regarding health care and there has been good news too. The most important thing you need to remember about all of this is that the only thing that matters is your safety and peace of mind. So here is a little poem about what we think about insurance and the Affordable Health Care Act! Changes will come and changes will go, As for Obamacare coverage…we still don’t know The complex meaning of Affordable care Brings promises of greatness…just buyer take care! Benefits that most of us know very well Seemed good in the beginning but one cannot tell As time goes by it’s for sure plans will change But yet our insurance needs will remain the same Colonoscopies and mammograms just to name a few The birth control pill that is important to you The truth, the lies, the threatening stares The warning is true “buyer beware!” One thing you know that is steady it seems Are the very strong agents at Healthcare Solutions Team! Before it’s too late and you stand with a quandary Let us handle your coverage and you take care of the laundry. …

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How The Health Law Impacts Federal Employees’ Health Benefits

Open enrollment season begins Monday for the approximately eight million federal workers and their dependents who receive health care coverage through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program or FEHB. The 2010 health law calls for some changes in that coverage. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about the how the measure will impact the health insurance plans of federal workers. If a person works at a federal agency and is enrolled in the Federal Health benefits plan they do not have to buy coverage on the Marketplace plans. But, if they did want to shop for a plan on the exchange they would not qualify for a subsidy because the Federal Government pays up to 75% of the cost of their plans already…speaks volumes doesn’t it? The mandate’s exemptions cover a variety of people, including: members of certain religious groups and Native American tribes; undocumented immigrants (who are not eligible for health insurance subsidies under the law); incarcerated individuals; people whose incomes are so low they don’t have to file taxes (currently $9,500 for individuals and $19,000 for married couples); and people for whom health insurance is considered unaffordable (where insurance premiums after employer contributions and federal subsidies …

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PREDICTIONS FOR OBAMACARE

In the Forbes article today there has been a prediction made: even if HealthCare.gov is fixed by the end of the month (unlikely), Obamacare is going to be repealed well in advance of next year’s election.  If the website continues to fail, the push for repeal will occur very rapidly.  The website is a sideshow: the real action is the number of people and businesses who are losing their health plans or having to pay a lot more.  Fixing the website will only delay the inevitable. Remember Obama’s promise, “If you like your health insurance plan or doctor, you can keep your health insurance plan or doctor.” Americans are learning that this may not be a possibility and there is a degree of mistrust buzzing amongst citizens. The hazard of the moment is that a compromise “reform” that drops the mandate and attempts to restore the insurance status quo ante could leave us with an unfunded expansion of Medicaid and a badly disrupted private insurance market. With the dangers that are already around us, this is one that we should not gamble with. The agents at Healthcare Solutions Team have options for you to maintain your coverage and your freedom …

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IF YOU LIKE YOUR HEALTH PLAN YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO KEEP IT

President Barack Obama’s promise that “if you like your health plan, you can keep your health care plan” isn’t proving true. Here are some groups of people who aren’t getting to keep their existing plans: •Many people with existing individual-market coverage are getting notices that their plans are canceled effective December 31, often because their plans do not meet essential coverage requirements under the ACA; •Though there does not appear to be a change in employer practices, some employers are dropping coverage for dependents, retirees and certain employees, with the expectation that they will instead get covered through the exchanges or other sources; and •Starting in 2018, employers (especially public employers) will be pushed to slim down gold-plated health plans to avoid getting hit with the “Cadillac tax” on high-cost plans. Some old plans were bad because they had big holes in coverage, like plans with annual and lifetime benefit limits that could leave beneficiaries destitute if they got hit with major illnesses. Other plans were bad because they covered too much, encouraging beneficiaries to consume needless care because they had little or no financial responsibility at the margin. At Healthcare Solutions team we are working with the top providers …

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Obamacare Still Glitchy

Some insurance experts warn that the federal Obamacare marketplace has a month or so to heal itself or risk harming enrollment. Others say it could be months, if not much longer, before the website is free of tech problems. In the meantime, many insurers aren’t waiting for the federal marketplace to get its act together and are directly enrolling customers in Affordable Care Act plans without forcing them twiddle their thumbs on the Healthcare.gov marketplace. Independence Blue Cross says its own website is seeing considerable traffic. Volume is about five times the level we normally see during this time period. Via phone, it’s three times. “I think it could easily take up to two years before all these things are working smoothly,” said Lisa Carroll, president of the Mosaic Insurance Exchange and the Small Businesses Service Bureau in Massachusetts. “This is just an ecommerce project of epic proportion,” said Carroll. Carroll said the complicated task of getting all facets of the federal health insurance market to interact with each other correctly is made more complicated by rule changes and clarifications that have to be accounted for by software. The decision is yours. It has always been yours. At Healthcare Solutions …

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