The enrollment period for signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is now open, and Indiana residents are actually seeing rates drop from the 2016 prices.
Many Americans have seen retail prices significantly higher prices than what they’ve seen before. Officials of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department announced the plans raised an average of 25 percent amongst states that HealthCare.gov covers.
Indiana, fortunately for Hoosiers, actually had a drop in prices of about 3 percent. Indiana is actually one of two states out of the 39 states ACA covers that saw a 3 percent decrease rather than an increase, with Massachusetts being the other, according to a CNN report.
Many estimations of costs for the plan are based on a 27-year-old adult. For 27-year-olds, the monthly price for the benchmark package is $229 a month rather than last year’s price of $235.
Officials were quick to remind people that most who sign up for the health care qualify for financial aid that will cut the amount premiums cost them. An analysis of the plans by HHS released in October showed about 72 percent of ACA customers can find a plan for less than $75 after financial assistance and 77 percent can find plans under $100 with assistance.
The insurance is for Americans with low to moderate incomes, which includes people who make 100 percent to 400 percent of the poverty level. HHS officials said the average ACA customer makes about 165 percent of the poverty wage, which puts the average income around $19,000 for a single person and $40,000 for a family.
Why do people need health insurance?
There are a lot of reasons why people should have health insurance. Some people assume it will cost more to maintain insurance than unexpected health procedures will without health insurance.
Healthcare.gov estimates fixing a broken leg can cost up to $7,500, and an average 3-day hospital stay costs $30,000.
Health insurance covers health benefits that are needed for good overall health, illnesses and accidents. All insurance plans offered through the Marketplace are required to cover:
• Ambulatory patient services, such as outpatient care without being admitted to hospital
• Emergency services
• Hospitalization, such as surgeries and overnight stays
• Pregnancy, maternity and newborn care, both before and after birth
• Mental health and substance use disorder services; prescription drugs
• Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
• Laboratory services
• Preventative and wellness services and chronic disease management
• Pediatric services, including vision and oral care
Additional benefits that can be included in health insurance plans are coverage of birth control, breastfeeding, dental, vision and medical management programs.
The plans also include free preventative care for services, such as vaccines and screenings, before people meet their deductible.
People that don’t have any type of health insurance will be charged a penalty when filing their annual taxes.
The penalty is called the individual shared responsibility payment. The fee is $695 per adult and up to $2,085, unless 2.5 percent of the household income is higher.
How to sign up
To check out the Marketplace, visit healthcare.gov. The website will ask for name, address, age, income and household size to help determine what plans will fit the situation at hand.
Depending on income, the Marketplace can connect the person with Medicaid. Those applicable for Medicaid typically make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty wage.
Assistance in signing up is available in person and over the phone. Hospitals and community health centers in Madison County have navigators that can assist in signing up for health insurance.
When actually enrolling, there’s a list of items people need:
• Last year’s tax information for you and your family
• Projected incomes for this year
• Medical history
• Social Security Numbers (or document numbers for legal immigrants)
• Employer and income information for every member of your household who needs coverage
• Policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of your household
• A completed Employer Coverage Tool, which is available at healthcare.gov, for every job-based plan you or someone in your household is eligible for
The open enrollment period started Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31, 2017. The deadline for enrolling is Dec. 15 for those wanting coverage by Jan. 1, 2017.
What other options are available?
Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, or HIP 2.0, is the state’s low-cost health insurance program that provides incentives for members to be more health conscious.
Non-disabled Indiana residents ages 19 to 64 years old with a family income of less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, similar to Medicaid, qualify for the insurance program.
ACA and HIP 2.0 are generally ideal options for people prefer to be enrolled in private health insurance plans through their employment or otherwise. However, people can search for private health insurance plans through the Marketplace as well.
Ways to get assistance
• Call local hospitals and community health centers in Madison County that have navigators who can assist people with signing up for health insurance.
• Visit localhelp.healthcare.gov to find nearby resources.
• Call the 24-hour-a-day Marketplace helpline at 1-800-318-2596.
• Look at insurance plans at healthcare.gov.