ObamaCare in Missouri
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About Obamacare in Missouri
The Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, is a federal law created to provide better healthcare insurance in the U.S. The law took effect on January 1st, 2014. One of the changes that the law established is called “Individual Mandate and Responsibility” which requires most people to have health insurance coverage starting on 2014. There are some groups of people who are exempt from this requirement such as undocumented and incarcerated people. To find out if you are eligible for an exemption, go to: https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions/.
If you decide not to buy coverage, you will have to pay a tax penalty of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child or one percent of the family income, whichever amount is greater. Those Missouri Residents who are covered by a health insurance that includes the minimum essential benefits, for instance, Medicare, TRICARE, Medicaid or COBRA, are considered covered by the Obamacare Law. Missouri does not have its own private Marketplace but you will find all the plans information and customer assistance at the Health Insurance Marketplace. Go to https://www.healthcare.gov/ to find, compare and buy a healthcare plan.
Individual & Family Coverage
The Missouri Health Insurance Marketplace offers four types of plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. These are known as metal plans. All the plans in the Marketplace cover the minimum essential benefits such as checkups, emergency care, prescription drugs and maternity care, among others. All the plans will offer the same quality of service. The difference between them is the amount that you will pay from plan to plan. Generally, if you pay low premiums, the costs that you will pay out of your pocket are higher and if you pay more for the premium, those costs will be lower. There is a fifth type of plan called Catastrophic that has lower costs than metal plans but you will have to cover expenses up to a certain limit.
The open enrollment period ended on March 31st, 2014. The next open enrollment period goes from November 15th, 2014 until February 15th, 2015, and the coverage starts on January 1st, 2015. You may be eligible for Special Enrollment Period if you have experienced a qualifying life event such as moving to another state, getting married or losing your job coverage. In case you qualify, you will have 30 days after your qualifying life event to apply.
The Health Insurance Marketplace in MO has a special section dedicated to small businesses called Small Businesses Health Option Program (SHOP) where employers can browse through the different plans offered, compare them and purchase them. Using SHOP gives you the advantage of choosing the level of coverage that you want to provide to your employees, control how much you will pay for premiums and obtain information or answers to your question. Even if small businesses with less than 50 full-time employees are not required by law to offer health insurance benefits, if you run a small business, providing coverage will make you more competitive in the job market and you will be able to recruit better employees and keep the current ones healthier and satisfied. If you want to buy a SHOP plan, go to https://www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses/ and browse the different options, compare, see prices and once you are ready to purchase a plan, contact an agent, broker or the insurance company directly before the 15th of any month.
Once MO Obamacare was approved and went into effect, the situation for individuals with pre-existing conditions changed. If you have cancer, diabetes, asthma or any other medical condition that prevented you from getting insurance coverage, you will not go through that anymore. Insurance providers are no longer authorized to refuse coverage to anybody based on a pre-existing condition, health status or gender. You cannot be denied treatment or be charged more if you have a pre-existing medical condition. Since January 1st, 2014, everybody has the same benefits in regard to health insurance.