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Please note that if you get your health insurance through your employer or through a government program like Medicaid, this post may not apply to you. Health care reform will affect business, those who get their benefits from their jobs and those who get healthcare services through Medicaid or a state program. However, this post is for those individuals and families who purchase health insurance on their own.

You probably know that health insurance is changing due to the legislation known as Obama Care or Obamacare. And you are probably wondering how the new mandates work and how they will impact you and your family. More importantly, you probably want to know what you should do now and in the future to keep your costs down while getting the health care you need.

When Does Obama Care Start?

The Affordable Care Act, which became known as Obama Care was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The law mandated many changes in our health care system. Some of the mandated went into effect in 2010 when the bill became law and others have gone into effect in subsequent years.

Open enrollment starts on October 1, 2013. This is for policies that become effective on January 1, 2014. However, there are steps you may want to take today to make sure you do not pay more than you should.

This is your Last Chance to Buy a Pre-Obama Care Policy.

This is important because most experts believe that a pre-Obama Care policy is likely to be less expensive for most people.

If you want to delay paying the higher costs for an Obama Care policy for as long as possible, make sure you have a good pre-Obama Care policy in place before the end of the 2013.

If you have a “Grandfathered” policy, you will be forced out of that policy at the end of 2013! This probably means higher monthly costs sooner. Most policies purchased in 2010 or before are considered “Grandfathered” plans.

If your policy was effective on or after October 1, 2010, you should be able to keep it until its renewal date in 2014. This will give you up to 12 additional months at what most experts believe, will be a much lower price.

Call us at 1-800-INS-URANce or (203) 374-3645 or visit ASAP to apply for a pre-Obama Care policy if you are uninsured, have a “Grandfathered” plan or want to make a change to your policy.

Obama Care and Pre-Existing Conditions

For policies that are effective January 2014 and later, your medical history will no longer keep you from qualifying for medical insurance. Nor will you have a limitation put on your policy that restricts coverage because you had or have a medical condition. Call us during the open enrollment period that starts on October 1, 2013. We can help you shop for and apply for a plan that will meet your needs.

About Subsidies and Tax Penalties

You may qualify for a subsidy if your income is less than 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit. Only policies purchased through the Exchange qualify you for a subsidy. By mid-October we expect to be able help you purchase through the Connecticut Exchange and apply for a subsidy.

You may pay a tax penalty if you do not have coverage when the open enrollment period ends. In 2014 the difference between the premiums you will need to pay and the additional taxes is fairly substantial. However, as time goes by the penalties will rise.

As always, call us with any questions about this blog post. You can reach me (Alston) or my son Joel at 203-374-3645 or 800-467-8726 until 9pm five to seven days a week.

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