By Bob Rosenblatt
The long-awaited day for registering for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act–mandated insurance exchanges has arrived. For anyone encountering questions from constituents confused by the process, please see the simple instructions below.
Clients can begin by going online to www.healthcare.gov and entering personal information, including Social Security number. The website will give the cost of an insurance policy, and, after people select one, it will tell how much federal tax subsidy will be received in order to buy the policy. The tax credit will be applied to the cost of the insurance policy selected, and the site will calculate a monthly payment. Subsidies are available for families with incomes up to $94,000 a year. The Kaiser Family Foundation has a helpful calculator for figuring out what an individual’s subsidy might be.
Individuals without health insurance are required to buy coverage for 2014. If they do not, there will be a penalty of $95, or 2 percent of their income, whichever is more, starting in 2014. People must enroll by March 30, 2014, for coverage. The penalty will be linked to the adjusted gross income on 2014 tax returns, and increases every year. In 2016, the penalty will reach 2.5 percent of income or $695, whichever is higher.
Bob Rosenblatt is a contributing writer for MedicareNewsGroup.com and NextAvenue.org. A frequent contributor to Aging Today, he is a Senior Fellow at the National Academy of Social Insurance, in Washington, D.C.
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the September/October 2013 issue of Aging Today, ASA’s bi-monthly newspaper covering issues in aging research, practice and policy. ASA members receive Aging Today as a member benefit; non-members may purchase subscriptions at our online store.