Health Insurance Marketplaces Expanding Access to Coverage
As you probably know, a key part of the Affordable Care Act kicked into gear October 1. Health Insurance Marketplaces — also called Exchanges — began offering insurance plans designed to help people who do not have insurance obtain affordable coverage.
As of Jan. 1, 2014, people who do not have insurance may be subject to a fee that will be assessed on their tax return. The penalty for not having insurance is 1 percent of yearly income or $95, whichever is higher. The maximum penalty a family will have to pay in 2014 is $285.
Plans have a set of essential benefits, including hospital, emergency, maternity and pediatric care as well as coverage for prescription drugs and lab services.
The law provides sliding-scale subsidies to help people who make up to 400 percent of the poverty level. That is about $46,000 for individuals and $94,200 for a family of four.
Illegal immigrants cannot buy insurance through the marketplaces. Legal immigrants, however, are eligible.
For more information on how to apply and enroll, visit Healthcare.gov. You can also visit TexasHealth.org/the-marketplace. Eligibility counselors at each Texas Health hospital can also provide helpful information.
We encourage all who are eligible to enroll in a health insurance plan that meets their needs.