To be honest, I didn’t expect to hear it with such regularity and, to a point, skepticism about these new, sometimes heavily, subsidized health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Remember Obamacare is the nickname for the ACA, they’re exactly the same thing.
In some cases people are exchanging their current health insurance plan for a nearly identical one through the marketplace. The main difference being that the federal government would be paying for a decent amount of the policy, depending on your subsidy.
What’s The Problem?
I’m not sure I can firmly put my finger on it, but it seems to me that when I tell someone their health insurance is going to cost 50-80 percent less than their current policy (some cases free), people often utter the phrase, “it sounds too good to be true.”
There’s two very important things to remember when “shopping” inside Ohio’s Health Insurance Marketplace.
One, there’s no such thing as a government health insurance plan.
Two, the only thing they are involved in is giving you money to pay for your health insurance.
Well… And defining the list of 10 essential health benefits and other mandates.
You will still be buying health insurance, good or bad, from the same health insurance companies you know and possible love like Medical Mutual of Ohio and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
The One Promise I Can’t Make
While the numbers being tossed around for those of you who qualify for these, hard to fathom, subsidies it’s very important that you know they are just estimates that will ultimately be judged on your total family income for 2014.
That means the other shoe could drop come tax time next year.
I don’t know what the IRS is planning, or more importantly will do, when it comes time to settle up on your income differences.
Right now, as it states on the healthcare.gov application, you might owe additional income if your income is higher than what appears on the application, also if your income is lower you might recieve an additional tax credit at the end of the year.
The one thing they haven’t said is what happens if your income changes so much that you fall off the scale on either end? Meaning, not making enough money to qualify or making too much?
Right now if you make too much I would guess you would owe the full subsidy amount back to the IRS.
If you end up not making enough to qualify for a subsidy, well I’m not sure what they are going to do…
But I can tell you they will have unnecessarily paid a substantial amount of money to a health insurance company all year when you should have been on Medicaid.
We’re talking thousands upon thousands of dollars unnecessary.
If one things for sure, the federal government has proven the need to keep a few pencils lying around as it appears nothing is off limits from getting changed.
At The End of the Day You Have Two Choices
You can buy a plan through Ohio’s Health Insurance Marketplace and take whatever subsidies they offer or you can bypass this system (healthcare.gov) and buy an unsubsidized policy directly from a health insurance company.
If you buy from the Marketplace and your income fluctuates or something crazy happens to the funding of the subsidies, you could be out of luck at some point.
If you choose to “stay off the grid” you will probably be paying A LOT more for your health insurance and in most cases can’t afford anyway.
Of course, if you make too much money, none of this matters anyway as you won’t have the option for a subsidy.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, with the overall cost of health insurance getting more expensive this year, the government has made it almost impossible for you consider NOT taking a subsidy if you’re eligible for it.
You just need to be aware of the risks that come along with it and what you could ultimately be responsible for if things don’t go they way you planned.