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Starting on October 1, 2013, we will enter a new era regarding health insurance in the United States. We will start taking applications for the medical insurance plans that will meet the 2014 mandates of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).

Health care reform has added new terms into our lexicon. “Health insurance exchange” is just one. “Marketplace” is another and of course “ObamaCare” is another.

An individual who decides to go without coverage in 2014, is likely to pay a penalty when he or she files their taxes. This federal government’s mandate is the stick that our legislators decided to use to nudge people toward buying health insurance.

Of course many employers, whether big or small business will include health insurance as part of the benefits provided to their employees. These insured employees as well as those who qualify for health care services through Medicaid, are not likely to pay any penalties.

The carrot is the subsidies that many will qualify for. A single Individual making under $45,960 and families with a combined income under $94,200 may qualify for a subsidy and reduce their net cost. These figures are based on 400 percent of the federal poverty level

Purchasing an On Exchange Policy

In order to qualify for a subsidy, an individual will be required to purchase through an exchange. You can use the same broker you have used in the past providing he or she is certified to sell through the exchange. (Our agency will be!)

In Connecticut, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Connecticare and HealthCT will be offering policies through the Exchange.

Purchasing an Off Exchange Policy

These three companies will also be offering policies through the same distribution channels carriers have used in the past. These are considered off Exchange policies. In addition to these three carriers, several others will be offering off Exchange plans.

So far it appears to me that the same policies offered on the exchange will be offered off the exchange. Also since over half of the companies will not be on the exchange, there will be more policies to choose from off the exchange.

The good news is that you don’t have to choose whether to purchase on the exchange or off by yourself. We can help you determine whether you qualify for a subsidy and after taking that into consideration, which plans might be best for you.

We will be helping Connecticut consumers purchase through the exchange as well as off the exchange. Our goal is to help you determine which policy and which options is best for you and your family. The rating of the insurer, the premiums, and the list of providers have always been part of that calculus. Now we need to consider tax penalties and subsidies. So from that standpoint, not much has changed. We will continue to help our clients make decisions about coverage, complete the enrollment process and make changes in the post Obama Care era.

Give us a call and we give you the information you need to decide whether to buy on the exchange or off the exchange.

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Alston

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