Expect better benefits, and maybe higher prices. Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, health insurance plans have started covering more preventive care and women's health care services with no out-of-pocket cost, and lifetime coverage limits no longer exist for most services. Expect benefits to improve in the next year, too, as coverage for things like maternity care becomes standard, but keep in mind that higher benefits may also mean higher monthly premiums. No one can say exactly what your health insurance costs will look like in 2014, but unless you qualify for subsidies, you may face an increase in what you pay for monthly premiums. Start budgeting for that possibility now, and consider opening a tax-advantaged Health Savings Account if your current health plan is qualified for use with one.
Know if you'll qualify for subsidies in 2014. If you buy your own insurance today, or there is a chance you could lose your employer-based coverage next year, it's a good idea to know if you will qualify for government subsidies to help you pay for your own health insurance. Beginning in 2014, federal subsidies will be made available to individuals and families earning less than 400% of the federal poverty level (about $45,000 per year for a single person, or $92,000 for a family of four, in 2012 dollars). Depending on your income, these subsidies will limit your health insurance premiums to between 3% and 9.5% of your annual income.
Don't assume health reform won't affect you. If you have employer-based coverage, you may think you won't be affected by health reform next year. Companies with fifty or more full-time workers will be required to provide health insurance in 2014 or face penalties. However, these penalties are substantially less costly than actually providing health insurance. Knowing that their employees can no longer be declined individually-purchased health insurance due to pre-existing medical conditions, some companies may opt to pay the penalty rather than provide coverage. Small companies (who won't face penalties in 2014) may also get out of the health insurance business and send employees to find coverage on their own.
Additional Consumer Resources:
•Download or request a FREE printed copy of our book, Individual Health Insurance For Dummies, Health Care Reform Special Edition, produced in cooperation with For Dummies®, a branded imprint of Wiley, and co-authored by eHealthInsurance •Follow eHealthInsurance's consumer blog, Get Smart - Get Covered •Browse our answers to real-life consumer health insurance questions on Yahoo Answers •Follow eHealthInsurance on Facebook and Twitter
eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) is the parent company of eHealthInsurance, America's first and largest private health insurance exchange where individuals, families and small businesses can compare health insurance products from leading insurers side by side and purchase and enroll in coverage online. eHealthInsurance offers thousands of individual, family and small business health plans underwritten by more than 180 of the nation's leading health insurance companies. eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Through the company's eHealthTechnology solution (technology.com%2f">www.eHealthTechnology.com), eHealth is also a leading provider of health insurance exchange technology. eHealthTechnology's exchange platform provides a suite of hosted e-commerce solutions that enable health plan providers, resellers and government entities to market and distribute products online. eHealth, Inc. also provides powerful online and pharmacy-based tools to help seniors navigate Medicare health insurance options, choose the right plan and enroll in select plans online through its wholly-owned subsidiary, PlanPrescriber.com (www.planprescriber.com) and through its Medicare website www.eHealthMedicare.com.
For more health insurance news and information, visit the eHealthInsurance consumer blog: Get Smart - Get Covered.
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