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  • Health Information Agents Busy Correcting Misinformation

    Posted by Shannon Early on November 8, 2013
    Health information agents Source:

    With the health insurance exchanges open for just over a month, it might be expected that consumers are getting savvier about the Affordable Care Act and the provision within in. However, that expectation would be wrong. According to Mark Bellman, president of the Texas Association of Health Underwriters, confusion continues to dominate people’s opinions of the healthcare reform law.

    In fact, health information agents known as Navigators or Assisters have been answering questions nonstop trying to correct misinformation about the law that is pervasive throughout all forms of media. Bellman indicated that surveys continue to show a significant lack of understanding about Obamacare, the enrollment process, and their healthcare choices. Moreover, they are growing more frustrated over the technical issues plaguing the federal health insurance exchange website.

    In an effort to clear up confusion surrounding the ACA, Texas Association of Health Underwriters put together a list of the top ten questions people seem to have about the new law.

    1.     Can I keep my current health plan? Your health plan must meet the minimum standards of coverage as defined by the ACA. If your plan does not cover the ten essential health benefits, your plan will be cancelled. However, you will be given the option to enroll in a richer plan. People who have insurance through their employers may be able to keep their plans if they were grandfathered in before the law went into effect.
    2.     Do I have to buy insurance through an exchange? Although most Americans will need to be covered by a qualified health plan in 2014, you do not have to purchase that plan through an exchange.
    3.     Will insurance purchased through an exchange be cheaper? In many cases, federal premium subsidies will make insurance plans on exchanges more affordable; however, there is no guarantee. In addition, not everyone will qualify for subsidies.
    4.     Do I have to use a Navigator? No. There is no requirement that you use a Navigator or Assistor to purchase insurance through the exchange.
    5.     Is Obamacare competing with private health insurance companies? Obamacare is not a health plan. It is the name of the law that governs what health plans are required to cover and how they price their plans. Private health plans are still competing with each other for consumer business.
    6.     Does my employer have to provide insurance for me? Only if your company has 50 or more employees, and not until 2015 because the employer mandate was delayed.
    7.     Should a small business provide insurance for employees or let them get their own? This is a complex issue that will vary from company to company. It is recommended small businesses use a licensed broker to help them make that decision.
    8.     Do I have to cover my kids if they are under age 26? You are not required to continue coverage for your children until they are 26; however, you have that option.
    9.     Has Obamacare been delayed? Portions of the law involving large employers have been delayed until 2015, but the individual mandate will still go into effect on January 1, 2014.
    10.   Can I compare all insurance plans through the exchange? You will only be able to compare plans that are offered on the exchange. Plans not sold through the exchange will not be visible on the marketplace.

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