November 1, 2013
Q: So what’s the truth, can I keep my current health coverage or not?
A: Well, there’s a very technical term we use in the insurance industry as a response to this question … “kinda sorta.” All kidding aside, there has been a lot of mention in the media over the past week about people receiving letters from their insurance carrier notifying them their coverage is ending.
In some cases you can take this at face value. There are carriers who have decided not to offer plans that comply with the new Affordable Care Act guidelines. In this case, you will be forced to make a change in your coverage and timing is everything. If you determine you are not subsidy eligible (you can read more about that here), it is important to change to a new plan before January 1st, 2014. If you are going to be eligible for a federal tax credit subsidy, you’ll likely wait to start your coverage until January 1st to capture the additional savings.
The carriers that are not offering ACA compliant plans in 2014 are in the minority. In most cases, you will have the option to elect an early renewal for your current plan which will extend the ability to keep your current coverage in place through the end of 2014. For individuals and families who are not subsidy eligible due to income or access to coverage through their employer, this will likely be the preferred option. This is because new ACA compliant plans will be significantly more expensive than current costs. Unfortunately, we can only delay the inevitable rather than avoid it entirely. Everyone will be forced to change to an ACA compliant health plan in 2015, but we are optimistic there will be some legislative fixes to provide relief by then.