FilAms consider getting health insurance as ACA deadline draws near

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBn North America Bureau

Mar. 20, 2014

NEW YORK – March 31st is a deadline that will cost you $95 if you don’t have health insurance – it’s a fine that will cost you even more next year.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or more commonly known as Obamacare is a federal law enacted to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance.

It’s meant to lower the rate of the uninsured by expanding public and private insurance coverage and reducing the costs of healthcare for individuals and the government.

It is said to be the most significant overhaul of the American healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

New York’s Office of Citiwide health outreach specialist Iman James said, “If you are uninsured, one of the easiest ways to find out
eligibility is by visiting the marketplace (healthcare.gov).”

James warned that applying for coverage could take time. He said, “You want to go visit the site sooner rather than later. You don’t wait until March 30th because they might ask for income verification or they may ask you to verify you identity and that might take longer and you might miss that open enrollment date.”

U.S. Department of Health officials said you don’t have to enroll in plans in the marketplace – if you already have health insurance coverage through your employer.

But if an individual is unemployed, or if their health insurance premium costs are equal to or greater than 10 percent of their personal or household income, they may be eligible for free public insurance or lower cost health insurance.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Michelle Davis said, “We have plenty of individuals, navigators, certified application counselors that are located in many different sites, hospitals, community health centers, libraries and they can get in contact with those individuals to help walk them through application process.”

New York resident John Mallonga said he is young, in good health and he feels that he doesn’t really need to spend for health insurance at this time.

While the penalty is not his main concern, he said it doesn’t hurt to start looking into the cheapest available private insurance he could get at the Obamacare Market Place.

Mallonga said, “I just think that Affordable Care Act is a good proposition for the whole country so it will be better or us in the long run. The truth is, all of us should be covered.”

Meantime, Jen Furer and her husband are self-employed, running a consulting company that makes more than $126,000 a year.

Pre-Obamacare, she said, for a family of six, they pay nearly $17,000 a year for premium health insurance plan.

“No Deductibles, very minimal co-payment and I could go to any specialist that I want. When Obamacare kicked in starting this year, I was informed that my plan was increasing to $33,000,” Furer said.

Furer said, under Obamacare their consulting firm no longer qualifies as small business – without having a single paid employee.

She pointed out that if their income stayed below $120,000 annually, she would have qualified for a tax subsidy of $8,376.
Obamacare experts advise Furer to look into other ways to insure her family with the help of navigators who could guide her through her family’s healthcare needs.

Navigator Caitlin O’Brian said, “If you have four kids, I’d have you come see a navigator, instead of just doing it on the website because there are lots of other things that you can do to kind of tweak it.”

The deadline to find a healthcare plan using the Market Place is on March 31st. Obamacare experts told people not to wait until the last minute to get insured to avoid various penalties.

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • Peter
    21 March 2014 at 2:04 am - Reply

    90 % of the younger generation age 18 to 32, which they called millinium, supported Obama and the Democrats to win for 2nd term. This millinium group are students and future leaders of our country. When Obamacare kicked-in they found out that Obamacare premium is 3X higher than the regular members.Without the millinium premium payments, Obamacare will run out of budget, therefore Obamacare will collect more money or increase the monthly premium for each member. “We were ripped-off”said the millinia/students The Hardvard Student Asso.passed their manifesto to all University Students organizations and blame Obama and the Democrat Party for lying. The word “Party of liars” originated from the student organizations. They rather pay the $ 95 penalty, then pay $300/mo. med Insurance. This group already felt the financial pain and some will become elected officials and will never stop repealing Obamacare, Obama popularity from the millinium/students is over…

  • filam
    23 March 2014 at 11:40 pm - Reply

    Please do not generalize fil ams…not all us like Obama care…you interview one and then generalize

    That’s like MSNBC being a parrot of failed policies

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