How to Approach ACA if You Won’t Get a Subsidy

One of the ironies of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that people who earn good salaries may find it harder to afford health insurance. The ACA has subsidies for people who earn below a certain benchmark (currently less than $50,000 for an individual). Once the income level is crossed, however, the subsidies no longer apply.

Still, there are ways to manage the costs of healthcare even without subsidies:

1) Buy health coverage through an insurance company. If you use an independent agent, you can avoid the exchanges and compare rates and deductibles from many companies. Your agent can help you choose a plan.

2) Juggle your deductibles and co-payments. If you are in good health you may want to select a high-deductible, higher co-payment plan that will come with lower monthly premiums.

3) Look into temporary insurance. Do you expect a life-changing event in the next few months, such as unemployment, marriage to someone with a lower income, a birth or adoption? You may want to buy a more affordable temporary plan, and wait until you qualify for subsidies.

Bernardini & Donovan Insurance can help you find insurance that meets your needs and helps protect your family. To learn more, contact us.

Health Insurance Choices Instead of Government Exchanges

If you cut through the noise and dissension about the new health insurance government exchanges that don’t seem to work, you may wonder if you have any other options. Unless you live in Vermont or the District of Columbia, you have options outside the exchange.

You can contact insurance brokers, companies or experienced professionals, like Bernardini & Donovan Insurance health plan experts. You can only buy coverage that complies with the Affordable Care Act (ACT), not one of the plans that were terminated as of January 1, 2014.

The main feature of the exchanges, the tax credits or subsidies that can lower your health plan costs, are not available when you choose one of the options outside the exchange. However, insurance carriers selling product on and off government exchanges must offer their plans at the same price.

There is no consensus as yet about the better choice for individuals. Supporters of private plans contend that, if you’re not seeking government subsidies, you’ll have greater varieties of plans to evaluate. Since plans differ from state-to-state, you should make the most informed decision you can.

Still confused? If you live in California, contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance. Their professionals will cut through the noise and confusion, giving you the information you need to make the best health insurance decision for your needs and budget.

How to Buy Health Insurance While Avoiding the Government Exchange

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is upon us. The online Health Insurance Marketplace, although its had numerous problems with crashes, is not the only way to get the healthcare plan you need. Fortunately, you have other options outside the exchange to buy the health coverage you need.

As the Health and Human Services Department works to repair their site, here are other ways to buy health insurance while avoiding the government exchange.

  • Contact a trusted health insurance agent. Experienced individual and group health insurance professionals, like Bernardini & Donovan Insurance.
  • Compare and evaluate other healthcare coverage online. You’ll find other options outside the exchange that you might find more desirable.
  • Ask your employer if it will offer health insurance, whether mandatory or voluntary. You may find your employer will offer a better, more cost-effective program that you can find elsewhere.
  • Join an affinity group or trade organization. Once again groups like these sometimes offer better, less expensive health insurance that fits your budget.
  • Contact other health insurance carriers to learn details of their individual plans that comply with the ACA. Assuming you can speak with a live person, call your agent or a company to learn about your options.

If you live in California, contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance to get their expertise to find the best plan for your situation. You’ll be happy you did.

March 31st Marks the Last Day to Purchase Health Insurance for 2014

The last day for individuals and families to purchase health insurance for the 2014 year is coming up. The deadline for purchasing any plan off of the open market is March 31, 2014.

What Happens on March 31, 2014?

Health insurance policies are only available for purchase during a period known as open enrollment. Open enrollment is when insurance companies are required to accept applicants for one of their health insurance policies.

Insurance companies that are offering health insurance coverage to individuals and families have scheduled open enrollment to end on March 31, 2014. If health insurance has not been purchased by that date, the individual and/or their family will have to wait for the 2015 open enrollment period – which is scheduled for some time in November 2014.

What Will Happen if Health Insurance is Not Purchased by March 31, 2014?

 Individuals and/or families who have not signed up for health insurance coverage and who have not filed and/or qualified for an exemption, face a possible penalty. The penalty is assessed as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The fine that will be assessed is as follows:

  • 1% of household income – with a maximum of what the average bronze plan premium would have been
  • $95 per person/$47.50 per child under 18 – each family will have a maximum of $285

The penalty will be assessed at whichever is higher.

For more information on health insurance coverage and upcoming deadlines for the Affordable Care Act, contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance, located in Redlands, California, today.

How to get health insurance outside of open enrollment periods

Putting aside all the seemingly continuing problems with the new health insurance Marketplace websites, people are now wondering if they can still get health coverage beyond the government open enrollment periods. It is possible if you have a "qualifying event" that create special enrollment conditions.

Qualifying Life Events

The following events are "triggers" that may make you eligible to purchase health insurance even after enrollment periods end. According to HealthCare.gov, these events generate a "special enrollment period."

  • You get married.
  • You have a new birth or adopt a child.
  • You move to a new state offering different health insurance options than those you had previously.
  • You lose former health coverage, other than your voluntary cancellation or for non-payment of premiums.
  • You’re already enrolled, but your income changes or other life events affect your eligibility for tax credits or government assistance to pay premiums.

Special Enrollment Periods

When you have one of these events, you can enroll in a health plan for up to 60 days following the qualifying event. In 2014, open enrollment ends on March 31. After that date, you’ll need to have one of these events to enroll without penalty.

For more information, contact Bernardini & Donovan Insurance, your California individual and group health insurance experts. Their professionals will answer your questions and you’ll get the advice you need to proceed.