Affordable Care Act

Obamacare Health Industry News Recap: 1/25/-1/29: What we learned this week

Published on January 30, 2016


For updates visit our Timeline of the Affordable Care Act
Obamacare 2016 Open Enrollment Period

  • Still Uninsured? Buy A Health Plan This Week To Avoid A Tax Penalty

The deadline to enroll in an Obamacare plan for 2016 is January 31.
Those who miss the deadline will be shut out of the major medical insurance market for the rest of the year, unless they experience a life event that qualifies them for a special enrollment period.
“If people plan to get covered and they want coverage this year, now’s the time to do it,” says Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of HHS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees, the federal health insurance exchange.
Slavitt warned that people who are eligible and don’t buy insurance face big tax penalties. The minimum fine for remaining uninsured is $695, and could rise to more than $10,000 for wealthy families who choose not to get coverage.
The penalty for not buying insurance for 2016 is either $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under 18, or 2.5% of the yearly household income, whichever is higher. Consumers who don’t qualify for an exemption on religious or other limited grounds will have to pay this penalty next year when they file their 2016 federal income tax return. (Those who go uninsured for no more than two consecutive months are not subject to the penalty.)
Read more: (NPR, Marketwatch)

  • Many uninsured Americans seem oblivious as ACA enrollment deadline nears

As the third open enrollment season for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act comes to a close on Sunday, a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll reveals that many uninsured Americans still are oblivious to the deadline.
The poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, released Thursday, found that the majority of the uninsured say they don’t know the deadline for getting coverage this year. Many of them also  didn’t know that the fine for going without health insurance in 2016 has jumped to $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of household income — whichever is higher.
The acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said officials have known that a multi-year effort will be required to reach people not accustomed to having health insurance. “This is exactly what we envisioned all along would be the most important challenge for us,” Andy Slavitt said.
Read more: (The Washington Post)

  • Federal Officials Clarify Rules On Getting New Health Coverage After A Move

After the open enrollment period ends on Sunday for buying coverage on the health insurance marketplaces, people can generally sign up for or switch marketplace plans only if they have certain major life changes, such as losing their on-the-job coverage, moving or getting married. Last week the Obama administration announced that they were taking several steps to tighten the rules for people who need to enroll in insurance outside of the open enrollment periods.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new guidelines to help consumers and those who assist them in enrolling understand what qualifies as a permanent relocation versus a temporary one.
People who move to a new state and “intend to reside” there may be eligible for a special enrollment period on the marketplace to pick a new plan.
However, determining residency intentions could be confusing. CMS clarified that traveling to a state for business, pleasure or to get medical care will not meet the residency requirements for a permanent move.
People may have more than one residence and may qualify for marketplace coverage in both places. Someone who keeps two homes in different states and spends entire seasons or lengthy periods of time in each could sign up for marketplace coverage in either or both states after each move, according to CMS.
Read more: (Kaiser Health News, The New York Times)

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