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Older Americans Have New Insurance Rights Under Health Care Law

 

Insuring Older Americans Short

 

For many years, older Americans have experienced the hardships of finding an insurer willing to provide coverage for older individuals. In 2008, 26% of those ages 55 to 64 applying for insurance were denied coverage, according to data from America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group. Because of this, many older Americans have been forced to make the tough choice of retiring at an older age to hold on to their health insurance from an employer, or retire uninsured and wait for Medicare to kick in.

Seeking coverage in the individual insurance market has been no walk in park for this group. The healthcare costs for a 64-year-old on average are nearly five times as much as a 21-year-old which makes insurers wary of providing coverage to older Americans. Discriminatory insurance practices such as increasing pricing and denying coverage for seniors have complicated matters for many.

So what is an older adult to do?

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has made a huge impact and difference for the 55-64 age population. Now, older Americans can no longer be denied coverage by insurance companies for pre-existing conditions. The law also limits the amount insurers can charge older enrollees to three times the amount charged for younger participants. In addition, premiums and subsidies from the government will help to ensure that people can afford to pay for their coverage.

Recent enrollment numbers have already shown adults ages 55-64 were the most heavily represented in the signups, accounting for 33 percent of the total. Now older adults have affordable options to choose from without being denied. While this may be a victory for older Americans, choosing the right insurance can be a daunting, overwhelming task. GoHealthInsurance offers licensed advisors at no cost, that can recommend and help consumers such as older Americans choose a plan that fits their lifestyle and needs whether they are close to retirement or seeking insurance outside of their employer. GoHealth licensed advisors can also see if individuals qualify for tax credits and apply them to your coverage, ensuring that the most cost effective and beneficial plan is obtained. To compare health insurance options or speak with a licensed advisor, visit the www.GoHealthInsurance.com.

 

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Is Health Care Reform One Giant Leap for Womankind?

Most recently, Queen B herself contributed an essay for “The Shriver Report” in which she urged women and men alike to demand equal opportunities for equal pay and

Women's Health Care Reform Updates

respect. While we are living through the most significant health care reform in American history, women are slowing moving towards that one giant leap for womankind.

American women across the country of all income levels are already benefiting from health care reform with new rights and protections.  It’s estimated that upwards of 13 million women are expected gain coverage because of the Affordable Care Act by 2016.

Since it’s so important to know your rights and the extent of your coverage, here are the law’s highlights affecting women. It may shock you to read about health insurance practices that were in place just last year.

  • The simple fact that being a woman is no longer treated as a pre-existing condition is a big deal. Women will no longer be charged more or denied coverage due to their gender or pre-existing conditions (like having cancer or being pregnant).
  • Health insurance companies are no longer allowed to cancel policies or drop coverage when people become sick.
  • Women are no longer charged premiums higher than men based on age, tobacco use, family size or geographic location.
  • Young adults can remain on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
  • Health insurance companies must now cover certain preventive services such as mammograms, well-woman visits, contraceptives, flu shots, and colon cancer screenings at no additional out-of-pocket-costs such as co-payments.
  • You can choose from any primary care provider, OB-GYN, or pediatrician in your health plan’s network without a referral.

What does this all mean? It means being a single lady or independent woman has new rights that aim to protect your health and keep more money in the pocket of your fly, skinny jeans.

Shop and compare a wide range of brand-name health plans side-by-side at www.GoHealthInsurance.com then do a celebratory dance break in the mirror.

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Meet the Expert: Jason Gregory

When this father of two is not taking his boys to ball games, going to shows at the House of Blues, or sampling dishes at Chicago’s hottest restaurants, Jason Gregory is finding Americans the best health insurance for their budget.

Get to know the man who is crazy about helping people find the right coverage. Meet GoHealth’s Licensed Insurance Advisor, Jason Gregory.

Favorite restaurant
Fat Rice in Logan Square. It was Time Out Chicago’s Best New Restaurant of 2013.jasonGregoryV1

A time you were grateful for insurance
My son had an allergic reaction and had to go to the hospital because his throat was closing. He’s ok now but it was a very scary situation. Thank God for health insurance because the bill was around $10,000. With insurance, we only had to pay about $500.

Cubs or Sox?
I’m a long-suffering Cubs fan.

Memorable advisor experience
Just a few days ago, I spoke with a man in Tennessee who needed health insurance fast because he was going to have heart surgery. Making that happen for him was pretty rewarding.

Hometown
I’ve planted roots in Chicago, but I grew up in Moweaqua, IL. It’s a town so small that if you blink, you’ll miss it!

Health insurance words of wisdom
Health Insurance is one of those things you don’t think about until you need it, and then if it’s not there, you’re in trouble. With it, you can have peace of mind knowing that if something happened, you’d be taken care of.

 

 

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“How Health Care Reform Benefits LGBT Americans”

For many years, the LGBT community has experienced disparities in the health system as they have been denied the same rights as heterosexual Americans, have been found to have a high percentage of preexisting medical conditions and have experienced difficulty finding affordable health insurance.  Now members of the LGBT community can have a sense of ease, as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and recent Defense of Marriage Act ruling bring new health care rights and protections.

Under the ACA, insurance companies cannot discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation, meaning members of the LGBT community cannot be denied coverage or charged more for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. In addition, health insurers cannot limit how much money they will spend on medical care, over a year or over a lifetime. For the first time, anyone living with a preexisting medical condition, including HIV/AIDS, cannot be denied health insurance.  These changes are substantial for the LGBT community as studies have shown that LGBT people suffer from chronic illnesses that require long-term costs at a higher rate than other Americans.

Just like heterosexual married couples, legally married same-sex couples, now have access to federal tax credits that lower the cost of insurance.  Even if a gay or lesbian couple lives in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, they can still apply jointly for federal tax credits.  This victory for the LGBT community came in June 2014 when the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act. This decision also allows same-sex married couples the right to visit his or her partner in the hospital and name a representative to make medical decisions on a patient’s behalf.

Finally, under the new Medicaid expansion, more LGBT Americans will now qualify for Medicaid if their incomes fall under the poverty line. This expansion is significant for the LGBT community, because according to a report by The Williams Institute, the LGBT community is more likely to live in poverty, especially transgender men and women as they are less likely to find a job.

LGBT-InfographicV2 (2)

With all the changes Americans are facing, finding an affordable, comprehensive health plan can be frustrating and confusing.  GoHealthInsurance offers licensed advisors, at no cost, that can recommend and help consumers choose a plan that fits their lifestyle and needs. GoHealth licensed advisors can also see if you qualify for tax credits and apply them to your coverage, ensuring that the most cost effective and beneficial plan is obtained.  To compare health insurance options or speak with a licensed advisor, visit the GoHealth Marketplace.

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What Happens If I Don’t Enroll in a Health Insurance Plan?

A key enrollment deadline for health insurance that begins on January 1st quickly came and went. Still, many of uninsured Americans have no idea whether or not they need to enroll. While you will not be penalized if for not having health insurance by January 1st, you could face a fine if you fail to enroll before March 31, 2014. Nearly everyone who can afford a health insurance plan is required by law to purchase a plan before that date.

The Consequence

As it stands now, if you can afford insurance but choose not to obtain health coverage you’ll likely be subject to a fine of $95 per person in your household or 1% of your household’s income, whichever is greater.  Only people with hardship exemptions are not required to purchase a plan. It’s also important to note, that if you choose to pay the tax penalty instead of purchasing a plan, you’ll be responsible for the entire cost of your medical care.

Brace for Increases

On April 1, when the penalties begin, they will start small and rise on a tiered scale up until 2016.

2014:

Families — $285 or 1% of total household income, whichever is greater.

Individual adults — $95 or 1% of total household income.

2015:

Families — $975 or 2% of income, whichever is greater.

Health Insurance Cost for Young AdultsIndividual adults — $325 or 2% of income.

2016:

Families — $2,085 or 2.5% of income, whichever is greater.
Individual adults — $695 or 2.5% of income.

The penalty tax will grow with inflation after that (rounded down to multiples of $50). By 2023, it will hit a projected $800. And the percentage of income penalty also grows—to 2 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent after that.

Don’t Delay

There are only a few months left until the March 31st enrollment deadline. While there is still time to weigh your options, be sure not to miss the deadline because once open enrollment ends, you’ll have to wait until next year’s enrollment period to purchase a plan. Only people with a qualifying life event are allowed to purchase a plan outside of open enrollment.

To compare your health insurance options, visit the GoHealth Marketplace.

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GoHealth Joins “Adopt-A-Family” Charitable Efforts

During the holiday rush, it’s easy to get caught up with festive parties and Christmas shopping, but true holiday spirit is about giving to those in need. For families experiencing financial hardship or sickness, the holidays may not always be bright and joyous.

Since the holiday season is a time for gratitude and giving back, this Christmas, GoHealth is spreading some of the holiday cheer to families throughout the community with the Heartland Alliance’s Adopt-A-Family Campaign. Heartland Alliance is the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest and provides gifts and basic necessities to families in need.

Through Heartland Alliance’s campaign, GoHealth adopted several families from the Chicago area in an effort to help make a holiday dream come true. Heartland Alliance identified families in need, then GoHealth employees went on a shopping spree with the families’ wish lists in hand.

GoHealth’s employees bought clothes, toys, cleaning supplies, hygiene products and grocery store gift certificates then beautifully wrapped the items for the families. Heartland Alliance is delivering the gifts in time for the holidays. GoHealth appreciates the work of Heartland Alliance for coordinating these efforts and creating a wonderful opportunity to make the holiday special for local families.

Please join us by thanking Heartland Alliance for their great work, and consider supporting their cause through a donation.

Health Alliance and GoHealth

 

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Top Need-To-Know Terms for Enrolling in the Right Health Plan

Women's Health WeekShopping for health insurance can be a daunting task and it’s crucial you pick the right plan to protect your family’s well-being.  That’s why GoHealth highly recommends that you seek the advice of a professional. However, in case you choose a DIY approach, we want to share some health insurance knowledge to help you find the best insurance for you and your family.

Talk the Talk

Before diving into the enrollment process, you should know the right lingo. An understanding of health insurance terminology will help you weigh your coverage options and select the right plan.

Here’s a breakdown of the top need-to-know terms.

  • Premium The fixed monthly payment made to an insurance company to maintain coverage. You’ll pay the premium amount regardless of medical care received.
  • Deductible The annual dollar amount that must be paid out-of-pocket before insurance coverage begins. For example, if your deductible is $2,500, your insurer will not pay for any covered medical expenses until you’ve met your $2,500 deductible.

               General advice: If saving money is a priority, look for a health plan with lower premiums and a higher deductible (keep in mind this will offer less protection for                      unexpected health care costs). If you want more financial protection for medical expenses, search for a plan with higher premiums and a lower deductible.

  • Copayment – or “copay” is a fixed dollar amount (for example, $20) that you may be required to pay upfront prior to receiving a service or prescription.
  • Coinsurance – A percentage of a single medical bill that you’re responsible for paying. This usually applies after you’ve met your deductible. For example, once you reach your deductible, you may be responsible for 30% of your medical costs and your insurer would be responsible for paying 70%, until you meet your plan’s maximum out-of-pocket cost.
  • Maximum Out of Pocket Costs – A specified cap to the amount you may be required to pay for medical expenses in a year. Once you reach your plan’s maximum out-of-pocket limit, your insurer pays 100% of covered services.

              Go beyond the basic terms with our health insurance glossary.

Keep an eye on our blog, Twitter and Facebook pages for advice to help you navigate the enrollment process. And remember, GoHealth is here to help. Our licensed advisers can help you select the right plan quickly and easily, and our service doesn’t cost you anything.

 

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GoHealth In The News: Private Companies Help Estimate Consumers’ Federal Tax Credits

Fox and Friends invites GoHealth Senior VP, Mike Owens to the show to explain how private health insurance companies are estimating tax credits that lower the cost of premiums. Click here to watch the segment.

 

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US Labor Secretary Visits GoHealth

US Labor Secretary Tom Perez visited Chicago-based GoHealth to learn about the company’s recent growth and partnership with Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (SCF).

In 2013, GoHealth hired more than 650 new employees. Approximately 150 of those employees were hired through a partnership with SCF, which helps train and place unemployed Chicagoans in jobs with growing local businesses. During the tour of GoHealth’s Merchandise Mart office, Secretary Perez heard first-hand accounts from some of the employees who found work through SCF.

“The satisfaction that I get when helping a customer has been overwhelming,” says GoHealth Licensed Benefit Advisor, Bernadette Ford. She helps consumers understand their coverage options and enrolls them in quality health insurance plans. Ford joined the GoHealth Team in August of 2013 “The people I work with on a daily basis have made this job even more enjoyable,” says Ford.

GoHealth aims to hire at least 200 employees through Skills for Chicagoland’s Future as part of its commitment to promote economic growth in the local community.
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GoHealth In The News: Online rival wants to coexist with HealthCare.gov

GoHealth CEO Clint Jones talks with CNBC on Squawk on the Street about GoHealth’s Marketplace and directly enrolling consumers in 2014 health insurance.

WATCH VIDEO

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101243108

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