THE HEALTH CARE LAW
The nation’s health care insurance system is undergoing major changes. The Affordable Care Act is expected to expand health care insurance coverage, with more benefits for more people, and more affordable coverage for many.
The law keeps today’s job-based, private insurance system and the Medicare system for those age 65 and older. It will also offer new ways to get health care insurance for those who are not able to do so due to health problems or price. There are four key features of the law:
- Coverage will be guaranteed and required.You will be able to get health care insurance coverage, even with a pre-existing condition. What’s more, you won’t have to pay more to have pre-existing medical conditions covered. Most Americans will be required to have health care insurance coverage or pay a penalty.
- All new plans will include coverage for essential health benefits.These are a comprehensive package of benefits, including preventive services, maternity and newborn care, and emergency services.
- You may qualify for cost assistance.Based on your income, you may now be able to get help paying for health care insurance coverage. Premium tax credits and help with cost-sharing are available to those who qualify.
- The Health Insurance Marketplace in Illinois will offer a new way to shop.You will be able to compare plan prices and benefits from a number of health care insurance companies offering coverage on the marketplace. However, you will still be able to buy directly from an insurance company or broker if you’d like. It’s your choice.
WHEN AND HOW SHOULD I BUY 2015 HEALTH CARE INSURANCE?
The sale of 2015 policies will begin on November 15, 2014.
If your current health care insurance is from your employer, you may not have to do anything. Ask your employer if changes will be made to your health care insurance plan and consider if it is best for you.
If you have an insurance agent that has helped you find insurance coverage in the past, you can still work with the agent. You can also buy directly from health care insurers.
You can also go to the Health Insurance Marketplace in Illinois. The Marketplace will give comparisons and have online calculators to help determine if you can get help paying for insurance.
WHAT IF I CAN’T AFFORD HEALTH CARE INSURANCE?
The new health care law may make health care insurance easier to afford. Tax credits will help people pay for premiums (monthly payments) when they buy coverage on the Marketplace.
Payment assistance may also be available for expenses that you pay when you receive medical treatment (such as deductibles, copays or coinsurance).
HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS TO FIT EVERY BUDGET
Whether you choose your health insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace or elsewhere, you have many options to find the one that works best for you.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF
We have three levels of health care plans available — bronze, silver and gold. All plans will have similar benefits, and all will include essential health benefits. Where they differ is on how the costs of the benefits are applied.
- BronzeWill have the lowest monthly premium, but also could be the highest out-of-pocket costs.
- SilverThis level has slightly higher monthly premiums than bronze but also richer benefits.
- GoldGold has even higher level of benefits than silver, but also a higher monthly premium.
- PlatinumThis is the highest level offered by BCBSIL, with both the highest premium but also the richest benefits.