Saturday, November 15, 2014

Readers ask about glitches, immigrants and renewal

During the 2014 enrollment period,  Jacqueline Smith’s son bought health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchange  –  or so he thought.

Smith says he never got any kind of confirmation, bill or policy and remained uninsured.  Now the Charlotte woman is wondering:  How can he do it this year and make sure it’s right?

The simplest answer is to get help.  Insurance agents and ACA exchange counselors offer guidance at no charge.  For an appointment with health insurance navigators,  call 1-855-733-3711 in North Carolina and 1-888-998-4646 in South Carolina.

If you decide to go it alone, look for a bill from the insurance company you chose.  Enrollment isn’t complete until the buyer has made the first payment, says Madison Hardee, a Legal Services of Southern Piedmont lawyer who is a health care navigator.

"However, we encourage consumers to be proactive and contact their insurance company a day or two after selecting a plan,"  Hardee added.  "That way, they can confirm coverage and go ahead and pay the first month’s payment over the phone." 

Other reader questions:

My wife and I got on the affordable care plan last year. Do we have to do anything to renew it?

No.  If you do nothing by Dec. 15,  the plan will automatically renew.  But look at the statement from your insurance company detailing any changes in the plan or premium.  Experts say it’s smart to go online, update your information and see if there are better deals this year.

In fact, the reader who sent this question followed up later that day saying he had just gotten a letter from Coventry saying his old policy was cancelled and offering a new one at three times his current premium, with a higher deductible.

How long do immigrants have to be in the country to qualify for insurance on the exchange?

Eligibility is based on legal status, not length of residence. Those who have become citizens, hold a green card or have been granted asylum or refugee status are eligible. People who are not in the United States legally can’t participate, regardless of how long they’ve been here. See for details.


Anonymous said...

Two adults household. One 52 the other 50. No smoking etc. $728 per month with a $12600 deductible. Then it says "Estimated out of pocket maximum" = $12600. (The deductible). Really? Isn't the Estimated out of pocket maximum the deductible PLUS the total premiums? ($12600 + [$728x12} pr $21366? Now who can afford $21366 per year? How is this the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

I don't qualify for a subsidy - maybe if I took a lower paying job I'd be better off? My job now pays $70k per year - with a $21366 medical care bill my life could be a lot easier and less stressful if I made less and got free health care.

Anonymous said...

So now that King Obama has declared all illegal aliens refugees, it look like American citizens will be footing the bill for their healthcare.

Anonymous said...

If you need a subsidy to pay the premium, how in the world can you then turn around and pay the deductible?

Ann Doss Helms said...

Good question, 7:45 a.m. Two answers: The subsidies may make it possible for someone to purchase a plan that doesn't have a huge deductible, and the lowest-income people are eligible for federal help with out-of-pocket costs as well as premiums.

Anonymous said...

Dear 9:48 am

If that is true then it's just another example as to how my tax dollars pay for things for others that I can't afford to provide for myself.