The Health Insurance Marketplace is the portal through which a person applies to receive financial assistance provided under the Affordable Care Act. Marketplace is located at healthcare.gov. Eligible individuals must have income between 100-400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and do not have access to other affordable health insurance such as an employer plan.

Two types of financial assistance are available.

  • The Premium Tax Credit may be used to reduce your monthly premium cost.
  • The Cost Share Reduction Subsidy reduces the out-of-pocket expenses under your health insurance plan.

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Chris McPike

Melisa Haessler

Brian Northup

FAQs

How does health insurance work for college students?

College students under the age of 26 are usually insured on their parents’ or spouse’s plan. However there are many situations when a college student may need their own health insurance plan. These include:

  • Students who are 27 years or older and don’t have access to other coverage.
  • Students who have come from another state to attend college in Nebraska, and don’t have access to in-network doctors here.
  • International students
  • Students who are participating in NCAA sanctioned sports and must satisfy the NCAA insurance requirements.
We were on UnitedHealth Care in Nebraska, It appears they are leaving Nebraska end of year. We have however had a critical doctor cease to support UH as of June 1. Do we have any recourse to switch to Blue Cross mid year?

Unfortunately the answer is no.  You have 2 options.  Talk with your doctor to ask for in-network fees.  Sometimes they will work with you.  While the doctor was in-network with UHC, the practice accepted $60 (hypothetical) as payment for an office visit.  Would they work with you, particularly if you are able to pay the fee as you see the doctor, to continue to accept $60.  The problem with this method is that the fees paid do not go toward satisfying the deductible on your insurance policy.  Option 2 is to find another in-network doctor.

There is going to be a lot of this as the year continues.

My health insurance premium is so expensive. I’ve found lower premiums with a “Health Care Sharing” ministry. If I enroll with one of these plans, will my coverage be as good as having a policy from an insurance company?

A:  Health Care Sharing ministries are NOT health insurance and there is no contractual obligation to pay your medical expenses.  These organizations are faith based and provide a method of sharing health care expenses among its members.  When you join the organization, you are assessed a premium.  Then, each month, you are directed to send your monthly premium to an individual that needs assistance in paying a medical bill.  You are financially responsible for all of your medical expenses.  You can submit your bills to the organization and based on their guidelines and the funds that are available, you can expect to be reimbursed for some or all your expenses.  Be certain to understand what types of expenses are eligible for reimbursement.  As an example, many plans do not include any preventive care as an eligible expense.

I went to my doctor’s appointment and I need to pick up a new prescription but I don’t have my new insurance card, what do I do?

This is not an unusual situation for doctors offices and pharmacies to deal with at the beginning of the year. Call ComPro we will help you get the information that is necessary for you to go ahead and get your medical services taken care of.

I received a letter from my insurance carrier that said my plan would automatically renew and I don’t have to do anything with my policy, is that correct?

The answer is different for this question depending on how you received your coverage.

If you are enrolled through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may not be “required”to do anything, but it is definitely in your best interest to update your information on the Marketplace and look at the options for 2016. Your Premium Tax Credit will change, and there are new plans available for 2016.

If you health coverage comes directly from an insurance company than you don’t need to do anything, and your plan will renew. But there are new options available that may be a better fit than your current policy. Check out Chris’s video for more in-depth information about renewing coverage through the Marketplace.

Do all of the Affordable Care Act laws apply to me since I am over 65?

No, the over 65 market is not subject to the Affordable Care Act laws.

What happens if I do not buy insurance?

If you are not enrolled in a compliant plan, you will be penalized on your tax return $695 per person or 2.5% of your total income.

So what exactly is a special enrollment?

A Special Enrollment Period (SEP) can occur anytime there is a qualifying life event (new baby, death, marriage, etc.) or other health insurance coverage has been lost. There are time frames to do the open enrollment so contact your agent as soon as possible.

How do I begin signing up for a new policy?

Contact your agent or ComPro if you do not have an agent to review your options for 2016. We are certified on the Marketplace and can guide you according to your health insurance needs.

What is an EOB?

An EOB is an Explanation of Benefits. It explains how the insurance company processed your claim.

Should I buy dental insurance?

Those who have dental insurance are more likely to see their dentist on a regular basis than those who do not.  The dental insurance plans that are available to individuals offer more limited benefits than group dental plans.  The decision to have dental benefits should be based on your desire for good dental health and the cost / benefits of the insurance.  One popular plan offers coverage for $27 per month.  Annually that is $324.  Preventive care (A services) is paid for at 100%.  B services (extractions, fillings, etc) require a 6 month waiting period and are then paid at 80%.  C services (crowns, root canal, etc) have a 12 month waiting period and are paid at 50%.  The maximum benefit is $1000 per year.  Compare the annual cost to what you would pay if you did not have dental insurance and consider how likely it is that you will need more than preventive services.

My doctor prescribed a new medicine. When I went to the pharmacy, I was told that my health insurance doesn’t cover the medication. What do I do?

Give our office a call and we can assist with researching the formulary of your prescribed medication.  Also suggest to contact your prescribing doctor to find other alternative medications that may be covered.

I just got a letter from DHHS telling me that our children will no longer qualify for Medicaid because our income is over the limit. What now?

If a family member loses eligibility for Medicaid benefits, he will be eligible to enroll in a health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  You will have 60 days in which to select a new plan or add him to an existing policy.  This is a qualifying event that creates a Special Enrollment Period for those who are losing their benefits. Contact us and we can assist with getting your children added to your current medical coverage or look into getting them their own coverage.

When I submitted my application to the Health Insurance Marketplace, I estimated our family income for 2015 at $50,000. It looks like we are going to have a better year and the income will be more like $75,000. What do I do?

You should contact the Health Insurance Marketplace to update your application.  This can be done online or you can call the Marketplace.  Your Premium Tax Credit will most likely be lower if your income is higher.  The portion of premium that you are responsible for can increase.  The final calculation for the amount of Premium Tax Credit you are eligible for is done with your tax return and is based on your reported adjusted gross income.  If you contact the Marketplace now, it should lessen the amount of Premium Tax Credit that you will have to pay back at tax time.

What happens if I cancel my health insurance policy?

You can cancel your policy at any time.  However, you can only purchase a new policy during the annual Open Enrollment (November 1 through January 31) or when you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period after a qualifying event has happened.  An example would be getting married, having a new baby, losing coverage from an employer plan or moving to a new state.  If you cancel your policy, you would be subject to paying a penalty for not having health insurance when you file your tax return. Not having ACA compliant coverage will cause you to be accessed the penalty on your tax return for the months you did not have compliant coverage. Penalty is $325 per person or 2% of income, whatever is greater.

Will my health insurance policy cover me while I am vacationing in Mexico?

Coverage can vary from one insurance company to another, so check it out before you travel. It is typical for US based coverage to provide benefits for emergency services only when you are out of the country. It is wise to purchase a travel policy that provides additional medical insurance benefits plus coverage for other expenses you might incur if a medical event happens while you are traveling. Benefits such as emergency travel home or evacuation expenses may be available on travel policy. The cost is minimal and provides valuable benefits when something unexpected happens.

We just moved to Nebraska from another state. What happens to my health insurance?

When you make a permanent move from one state to another, you will need to change your health insurance to a plan that is based in your new home state. You have a 60 day Special Enrollment Period to select a new plan.

I am changing jobs. Our family just lost health insurance coverage that was provided by my employer and my new employer does not offer benefits. Should I take COBRA from my old employer or just buy my own policy?

When you lose employer provided coverage, you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This means you can enroll in an individual policy through the Health Insurance Marketplace or directly with an insurance company or you can choose the COBRA benefits from your employer. It’s a financial decision based on your total costs for the remainder of 2015. There will be an Open Enrollment from November 1st through January 31st to select a plan for 2016.

I just had a baby. What do I need to do about my health insurance?

First of all, congratulations on the baby. State law in Nebraska requires an insurance company to provide health insurance coverage for the first month of a baby’s life. For coverage to continue beyond the first month, he (or she) must be officially added to an existing policy or enrolled in his own policy. The first step is to notify your insurance company and complete any forms that are required. If you are enrolled through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you must also contact the Marketplace and report a life change. Your premium will be more because you are adding another person to the policy, but, if you are eligible for the Premium Tax Credit, it will also increase. You have 60 days to notify the Marketplace.

What is a drug formulary and how do I use it?

A formulary is a list of prescription medications that are covered by an insurance plan.  The medications are categorized as Tier 1 through Tier 4 with Tier 1 being the least expensive and Tier 4 being the most expensive.   Some insurance companies use more than 4 tiers.  If your pharmacy tells you that a drug is not covered, then the first step is to call the customer service number of your insurance company to find out why the medication is not covered. The most common reasons are that a drug is new and not yet on the formulary, has been replaced by a generic medication, or requires that you try less expensive medications before the more expensive one will be approved.  There is also a process where your doctor can submit a request that the medication be approved because of special circumstances.

What doctors can I use?

Every insurance company offers benefits through a specific network of physicians, hospitals and other providers. Your benefits will be reduced if you use a provider that is not in the network. Each insurance company’s website offers a “Provider Search Tool.”  You can also contact your doctors’ office to find out if they are in your network. Look on your insurance card to find the website URL.

When can I enroll in an Individual Health Insurance Plan?

During the annual Open Enrollment that begins November 1 – January 31 2016 or during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). If you want a January 1 effective date, a selection needs to be made by December 15, 2015.

Outside of Open Enrollment an SEP is the only other time to enroll in an Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant plan.

An (SEP) can occur anytime there is a qualifying life event (new baby, death, marriage, etc.) or other health insurance coverage has been lost.

Enrollments are NOT allowed at other times.

Is it better for me to keep my pre-ACA plan than switch to a plan that complies with the ACA?

ACA plans are not always more expensive.  Even though they include benefits like maternity coverage and pediatric dental, those plan designs and rates should be considered.  The ACA compliant plans can be less expensive for groups that have an older population or high claims experience.

I heard in the news that Assurant Health is cancelling their plans. Do I need to get new coverage right away?

The parent company that owns Assurant Health has made a business decision to discontinue their health insurance offerings due to losses. This is not a CoOportunity-type crisis. Currently Assurant Health is for sale. If a buyer comes forward then coverage will continue under the new carrier. If there is no buyer then coverage will discontinue when the policy renews in 2016. Operations will continue as normal until the company is sold or plans are non-renewed. Claims will continue to be paid.

Are there any first dollar benefits on my high deductible health plan?

All policies include first dollar Preventive Care benefits, which means FREE to you. As long as the visit is billed as Preventive by the physician’s office and falls within the approved category you will have no charge.

Is the only way to contact my insurance company by phone?

Most insurance companies have Member portals where you can view claims, see benefits, find an in-network doctor and print an ID card. Many sites also include options for viewing the cost of different procedures and finding the best priced facility for a certain service.

What is an SBC ?

SBC stands for Summary of Benefits & Coverage.  This is a required form by the ACA.  It explains the benefits of your plan in layman’s terms.  It also provides two examples of how claims will be paid for specific situations.

I always hear about Open Enrollment on the news. Is that the same as Open Enrollment on my employer’s plan?

No.  Open enrollment for your employer’s plan will depend on when that policy renews.  It typically occurs in the month prior to the renewal and coverage would be effective on the renewal date.

What should I do if I don’t have my ID card?

If you misplaced your card you can visit your carriers website to print out a temporary card. To get a new card you may contact us or your carrier to replace the old one.