Understanding Obamacare: Health Insurance Exchanges
Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Nearly four years after Congress passed the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, one of its most prominent features will begin in October—the Health Insurance Marketplace. According to a recent survey done for InsuranceQuotes.com by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, only 10 percent of…
Nearly four years after Congress passed the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, one of its most prominent features will begin in October—the Health Insurance Marketplace.
According to a recent survey done for InsuranceQuotes.com by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, only 10 percent of Americans claim to be very knowledgeable about the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
“People in general are not very well informed about the [Affordable Care Act], and I think the primary reason is the most significant parts of the law haven’t gone into effect,” said Alan Weil, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy.
Many of the survey respondents weren’t aware of when changes would go into effect, and they also didn’t know when they’d need to sign up for health insurance exchanges.
These exchanges are government-run marketplaces—primarily online—where people can compare and purchase an insurance policy, with a set of in-person options to help customers navigate the marketplace.
“There’s certainly an understanding that you can’t make this work if all you do is sort of send people to a website,” Weil said.
Exchanges will be run by individual states, by the federal government when states have chosen that option, or by a partnership between a state and the federal government.
However the exchange is run, the options and benefits available in the exchanges will be virtually the same, Weil explained. “Their functions are identical. They’ll find out if you’re eligible for a subsidy, give you options of plans, and get you enrolled.”
In general, plans offered through the exchanges will look much like private insurance plans do now, although they’ll be more structured and there will be some improvements in the nature of coverage.
According to Weil, insurers in the exchanges are required to offer “essential health benefits,” which are the types of services that have traditionally been covered by typical employer-sponsored health plans.
The health insurance plans offered will vary from state to state, but all plans will be required to offer certain federally-mandated options, like coverage for preventative services, maternity services, and pharmaceutical services.
Depending on income and family size, people may qualify for free or significantly discounted insurance plans through an exchange. According to healthcare.gov, a website set up by the federal government to explain recent and ongoing changes in health care laws, a new kind of tax credit will also become available.
People will not be required to purchase insurance through the exchanges—insurance through the private market will still be available.
“Very, very few people who have insurance through a job will want to switch over. I wouldn’t even encourage those people to give it much thought in the first year,” advised Weil. “It’s very unlikely someone with employer-covered health insurance would find themselves better off in the exchange—unless they’re getting very skimpy coverage through work.”
Those with comprehensive coverage through an employer aren’t eligible for most subsidies in the exchange. In fact, the primary targets of the exchanges are uninsured people or people—often those who are self-employed—that are currently buying insurance on their own.
Information on insurance plans that will be available through the Health Insurance Marketplace can be accessed now at healthcare.gov.
Enrollment in the new health exchanges will begin Oct. 1, 2013, and coverage through the exchanges will begin Jan. 1, 2014.
Michelle Stoffel Huffman is a researcher and staff writer for Think Glink Inc. Prior to joining Think Glink, Michelle worked for the Chicago Tribune as a daily news reporter and community manager, covering local government, business, tax issues and crime. She now specializes in real estate industry news, consumer financial reporting and home design and decor. She is a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.