Healthcare reform has been a hot-button topic for the last few years and for good reason. Because of this, we are constantly inundated with new stories, tweets, opinions, and reports on the matter, some of which are true or partially true, while others are hyperbolic, alarmist, or flat-out wrong.
If you are confused and apprehensive about what’s to happen in the immediate future, don’t worry, that’s totally natural; the field of health insurance is a difficult beast to grasp hold of in the best of times, let alone in the Digital Age. To clear up the picture, we will discuss the changes that have been enacted and share what you should know about health insurance with 2019 approaching.
There were several GOP-led attempts to repeal significant portions of the Affordable Healthcare Coverage Act, most of which were unsuccessful. Three versions of skinny repeal were presented on the floor of the Senate and all of them failed to garner enough votes to pass the repeal.
The one avenue that the GOP did gain footing was the repeal of the individual mandate, which would incur a penalty on those people who were uninsured. This penalty served as a funding mechanism for AHCA, so the lifting of the mandate is a blow, but not a death wound to the Affordable Care Act. In 2019, this penalty on the uninsured will be lifted; however, those who remained uninsured in 2018 will still have to pay the penalty.
Experts forecast that the average premiums on health care plans will see a slight increase, but the average benchmark premiums will experience a slight decrease (this goes for most states being that new insurers are entering the market and current insurers are reducing their prices).
If taxpayers want to claim a Premium Tax Credit in 2019, they will have to fill out IRS Form 8962. This form will help you estimate and report your Premium Tax Credit figure on your tax returns, in addition to resolving any advance credit payments that had previously been made on your behalf.
Form 1095-A, the Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, will help you discover your premium tax credit information. This form will list the dates of enrollment for coverage and your monthly premium.
Changes in 2019
In late 2017, Health and Human Services completed the market stabilization rule, which would lead to several changes that will continue to apply in 2019. Such changes include:
- Open enrollment for most states will continue for a month and a half, starting November 1st and running until December 15. Americans from the age of 18 to 64, who do not already have coverage by an employer, parents, Medicaid, or Veterans Affairs, may open enroll. All plans go into effect on January 1, 2019.
- Those people whose policies were terminated for delayed payments or non-payments on premiums in the year previous that wish to re-enroll with either the same insurer or someone under that parent company, will be required to pay the past-due premiums prior to receiving new coverage.
- The permissible actuarial value range for Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans was expanded in 2018:
- Bronze: -4 | +5 range with an actuarial value of 60%
- Silver: -4 | +2 range with an actuarial value of 70%
- Gold: -4 | +2 range with an actuarial value of 80%
- Platinum: -4 | +2 range with an actuarial value of 90%
These figures can fluctuate as a result of widening allowable de minimus ranges.
It should be noted that benefit and coverage alterations to the individual or smaller groups will continue to happen along with adjustments to other factors as well, so it would be wise to revisit the available plans and reselect the option that is the most ideal for your health care coverage needs.
Do You need to Sign Up For All Types of Insurance During Open Enrollment?
The answer to that is no. That said, although it is not a requirement, most people select enrollment in vision, disability, accident, dental, and life insurance during open enrollment. They do so in order to safeguard their physical and economic health.
Healthcare insurance can feel like a tricky subject. But it doesn’t have to be. If you do your due diligence, research, and select the health care plan that best suits your needs, you will be fine.
Be sure to fill out Form 8962 so that you can claim your premium tax credit!