How health insurance marketplaces will help early retireesPublished 9:30am Friday, May 3, 2013
The policies available through these Marketplaces will be sold by insurance companies and will provide a package of 10 essential benefits, including emergency services, hospital care, lab services, prescription drugs, doctor visits, preventive care and rehab services.
To make shopping and comparing a little easier, the health plans will be divided into four different levels – bronze, silver, gold and platinum – each offering similar benefits but with a different cost structure. The bronze plan will have the lowest monthly premiums but have highest out-of-pocket costs, while the platinum plans will have the highest premiums but the lowest deductibles and co-payments.
The Marketplaces will also offer a toll-free hotline to help you choose a plan that meets your needs and budget. These helpers aren’t associated with any particular plan, and they aren’t on any type of commission, so the help they give you will be completely unbiased.
Costs and tax-credits
Prices will vary depending on where you live, your age and the health plan you choose. Exact cost structures for most Marketplaces will be released within the next few months.
To help make coverage affordable, sliding scale tax-credits will be available if you earn less than 400 percent of the poverty level – that’s $45,960 for a single person and $62,040 for couples. These tax-credit subsidies will provide immediate savings off your monthly premiums.
To find out if you qualify, or see how much a tax-credit will reduce your monthly costs, you’ll need to submit a Marketplace application in October, or when you decide enroll. In the meantime, you can calculate your potential tax-credit premium savings by using the Kaiser Family Foundation calculator at healthreform.kff.org – click on “Interactive Features” and then scroll down to “Subsidy Calculator.”
For more information on the Health Insurance Marketplaces including a checklist of things you can do now to help you choose a plan, visit healthcare.gov/marketplace.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.