Experient Health Explores Changes In Health Care Reform - and Affording Insurance - In Latest Online Blog Post

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Experient Health, a Virginia Farm Bureau company, takes on health insurance topics in its Blog series more heavily as open enrollment for 2014 approaches.

With all of the chatter surrounding health care these days - especially as open enrollment for 2014 approaches under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - understanding as much as possible about the new system is beneficial to making the most sound and logical decisions surrounding health care plans.

That's especially true for the un- and under-insured, Experient Health, the health insurance arm of the Virginia Farm Bureau, wrote in its latest blog post.

How to afford coverage is among the company's most asked question.

“Subsidized coverage— or coverage that’s obtained through financial assistance from programs to help people with low and middle incomes— is available to individuals and families with household income up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level and who are not offered affordable coverage through their employers,” wrote Experient Health.

Users can save money in three ways— each depending on the specific income and family size.

“You may be able to lower costs on your monthly premiums through tax credits when you enroll in a private health insurance plan,” wrote Experient Health.

Secondly, individuals and families may qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs for co-payments, coinsurance and deductibles.

Then, lastly, children may get free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Of the subsidies available, “the most widely available subsidy is the Advance Premium Tax Credit, which helps cover the gap between the cost of their premium and what they can afford to pay,” wrote Experient Health.

The ACA requires households participating in the Marketplaces to put a certain percentage of their income towards the cost of health insurance.

“The exact percentage households need to pay,” according to Experient Health, “is graduated up to 400 percent of the feral poverty level (FPL), with people at that percentage level required to pay the most and people at 100 percent of the federal poverty level required to pay the least.”

The percentage of income that households are required to pay, however, may not be enough to cover the cost of the insurance policy. That’s where the Advanced Premium Tax Credit steps in, covering the amount between what households are required to pay and the cost of the insurance policy.

Premium tax credits are both refundable and advancable. A refundable tax credit is available to a person even if he or she has no tax liability. An advancable tax credit allows a person to receive assistance at the time that he or she purchase insurance rather than paying his or her premium out-of-pocket and waiting to be reimbursed when filing an annual income tax return.

Several online calculators are available to help with the estimates.

In addition to the Advance Premium Tax Credit, “households that earn up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level may be eligible for cost-sharing subsides. These subsidies are designed to help lower out-of-pocket costs,” wrote Experient Health.

Read the full blog post here: http://experientinsurance.com/2014/08/28/health-care-reform-marketplace-subsidies-medicaid-and-chip/.

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Stephanie Heinatz
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