Q&A: Staring at a big price hike for health plan
|By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press|
Two of their questions and AP's answers:
WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR PLAN
Q: "My premium AND my deductible are doubling ... in order to comply with Obamacare — I liked my coverage before and I was promised repeatedly I could keep it. My husband is self-employed so we don't get the breaks big corporations do. My question is how are self-employed people supposed to afford insurance under the 'Affordable Healthcare Act'?" —
Her story: When she posed the question, she and her self-employed husband were facing soaring costs for a new health plan starting this month. Their insurer was discontinuing their old plan because it didn't meet standards of the Affordable Care Act. The insurer's replacement plan cost
A: Instead of accepting a new and more expensive replacement plan from an insurance company that discontinues your policy, shop for coverage on the HealthCare.gov exchange, see if terms are better than you have now — and check whether you qualify for a subsidy.
What happened: The Thompsons did just that and found a policy on the
There's a catch though. Their costs stayed about the same only because they qualified for a tax credit on the exchange. Because her husband has gone into his own business, the family's income this year is highly unpredictable. If her husband makes too much money, the couple will lose their subsidy and see their costs jump after all. In that case, they may have to pay back thousands of dollars.
"It seemed to be something I just couldn't get around," Thompson said. "I researched and filled out applications and was on the phone for about three days to get to this point."
Once she found the new policy, she learned that she and her husband might have been able to keep the old policy after all because it apparently was being extended at the last minute. But she decided to go with the new coverage, she said, describing her situation in a phone interview and emails. "There was no way I was going through that again so I left well enough alone."
WHEN THE PENALTY HITS
Q: "If I don't sign up, when does the penalty start to affect my wallet? How much is the penalty? How is the penalty collected?" —
A: You're likely to feel the penalty in early 2015, when you file your taxes for this year. That's when you're supposed to verify to the
The penalty for this year is
The penalty jumps after that. In 2015, it'll be
There are caps involved, and different numbers for families, making the math even trickier. But why do math when the Tax Policy Center will do it for you? Plug in your income and dependents here and see: http://goo.gl/A4MKxh</p>
As for how it's collected, if you are due a tax refund, the
More detail on who needs insurance and how the penalty works: http://goo.gl/Rw469s
EDITOR'S NOTE _ Third in a series addressing real-life questions about the personal impact of the health care law.
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