Jan 1st, 2014 - The Big Date for Health Subsidies

If you qualify for health care subsidies, Jan 1st, 2014 is going to one of your favorite days!  This is the date that health care will officially become affordable for the vast majority of people that are eligible for health subsidies.  We're getting closer every day so let's take a look at the big changes that are coming on that date and how to prepare for them.

D Day for Health Reform is Jan 1st, 2014

There have been many milestones leading up to the transition to health reform but were actually hitting the health subsidy beaches on Jan 1st.  This was the date established by the Reform bill for the really big transformation mandated by the bill.  90% of the reform bill hits then and dates become important to make sure you get every dollar of subsidy that you're eligible for.  Let's break down what these big changes are.

Health Exchanges go live Jan 1st, 2014

The new Health Exchanges can start accepting applications on October 1st of 2013 but the first actual effective date that people can request is you guessed it...Jan 1st 2014.  Your application may need to be submitted by Dec 14th in order to receive this Jan 1st date depending on State rules so our recommendation is to apply as soon as possible if you're eligible for a health subsidy as that is the critical deciding factor on using the Exchange or not.  Starting October 1st, you will be able to both confirm health subsidy eligibility and quote the available plans (with the subsidy already factored in) through our Health Subsidy Quoting Page.

Underwriting Changes Jan 1st

Coverage will now be guaranteed issue which means that you cannot be declined or have your rates go up based on your health status or pre-existing conditions.  This is one of the biggest changes in the new health reform bill as a good 20% of current applicants are declined on average.  Many more have their rates increased based on health status.  There are other changes such as gender neutral pricing, 3-1 age band compression, individual family member pricing, and more.  There will now be parity for most of the rating of health plans starting Jan 1st, 2014.

Standardized Metallic Health Plans start Jan 1st, 2014

The new plans available will change considerably.  There will four basic levels of coverage and one catastrophic option for young adults.  The plans will all offer certain Essential Health Benefits.   For some markets this will be very new with maternity, mental health parity, preventative benefits all being required.   The plans must also meet certain requirements in terms of what they pay for and how much.  Generally, these requirements will be much richer than what most plans current cover.  The rates will go up significantly unless you qualify for the new Jan 1st 2014 addition that we're most excited about...health subsidies.

Health Subsidy available Jan 1st 2014

If you are eligible (you can find more information at our 400% Rule page), there may be sizable health subsidies towards the new Exchange plans mentioned above.  In a nutshell, it's a calculation of how much you make relative to 400% of poverty (If you qualify) and how much your health insurance premium is relative to your income (how much your subsidy is).  For many new and existing shoppers on the health insurance market, the subsidy will take a large bite out of their health care expenditure.  Add in the benefit subsidies, and many people will find that the new health insurance plans are quite affordable. 

So Jan 1st is the big day that all this occurs.  Mark your calendar and don't forget that application submittal date will affect the earliest possible effective date you can qualify for with the first open enrollment window starting October 1st, 2013. 

 

 

 



Los Angeles, Family of 4
making $60K.
  Subsidy=$8,388*


Iowa, Single Adult making $30K
Subsidy=$4,222*

*Based on age, expected costs, and other assumptions according to Kaiser Calculator.  Actual subsidies will vary and official subsidy amounts will be available Oct 1st, 2013. 


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