7 Tips To Understand Obamacare And Avoid Costly Penalties

reform(SLW) Health Insurance is now mandatory in the United States, but Americans are still confused about obtaining coverage. 

These days, insuring your family’s health can be a difficult sea of policies and rules to navigate.  With health insurance becoming mandatory, and open enrollment among us, many are looking for sound advice.

Our writers joined with health experts at to come up with 7 tips that you must know in order to better understand the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.

Tip 1: Every American must have health insurance in 2015 to avoid paying penalties to the government, unless a special exemption is made. Those with health coverage already are encouraged to shop around the Marketplace, as these policies may qualify you for tax savings at the end of the year. 

Tip 2: Open enrollment for 2015 coverage runs from November 15th, 2014 until Feb 15th, 2015. Outside of Open Enrollment, you can buy a health insurance plan only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, which only qualifies those who have had changes in income, household, and a few other factors. In other words, sign up now, or risk being uninsured for the entire year.

Tip 3: You cannot be turned away for health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. That’s one of the major benefits of the ACA, and it has helped many Americans by eliminating the burden for expensive doctor visits and medications.

Tip 4: If you choose not to have health insurance in 2015, be ready to pay either $325 per adult and $162.50 per child (up to $975), OR, 2% of your annual pre-tax income, whichever is higher. This is set to increase to 2.5% or 3% in 2016.  

In nearly all cases, it makes much more sense to sign up for coverage, rather than go without insurance and pay penalties, not to mention the high out-of-pocket costs for inevitable doctor visits.

Tip 5: Open enrollment begins on November 15th, but you can (and probably should) start the process now, in order to have a solid understanding of the policies available, and to simply avoid the hassle of dealing with the marketplace when everyone else is trying to buy.

Tip 6: Uninsured individuals, part-time workers, and those who already have coverage, all have full access to the marketplace and cannot be denied coverage during the open enrollment period.

Tip 7: Nearly 26 million Americans may be eligible for subsidies to buy health insurance under the ACA through cost-assistance. Ask someone if you qualify.

To recap, all Americans must be insured in 2015 or face penalties which, keep in mind, will be even higher in 2016. Open enrollment will run from November 15th, 2014 until February 15th, 2015 – everyone, whether currently insured or not, is encouraged to shop around.

Many Americans are eligible for subsidies, and pre-existing conditions are never turned away during Open Enrollment.

Don’t get caught paying government penalties and expensive out-of-pocket expenses for doctor visits. Get information now and prepare your family for a healthy and happy 2015.



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