If you are self-employed like me and/or you need to purchase your own health insurance (either because you aren’t employed or because your employer doesn’t offer it), then you’ll want to pay attention to the opening of the Obamacare state health insurance exchanges or marketplaces.
These exchanges open up on October 1, 2013. Head to healthcare.gov/marketplace (starting Oct. 1) to find a link to your state’s exchange, where you can shop for health insurance that will go into effect on January 1, 2014.
Obamacare has already affected many folks’ finances, both positively and negatively. The next major hurdle for the law’s effectiveness will come during this “open enrollment” period, where folks like you and me will face down new health insurance rates. To put it bluntly, “this sh*t is about to get real.”
Honestly, I can’t wait for the clarity that these insurance premiums will provide. It will be nice to finally understand my policy and premiums. I’m sure many of you feel the same way.
I’ve already called my current insurer, Humana, and I was told my current health insurance plan, a high-deductible HSA-eligible plan, is not a “grandfathered” plan, nor does it qualify under the Obamacare rules. It will need to change. Specifically, it will need to provide a more robust list of services (like maternity care).
So I will need to get on a new, Obamacare-eligible plan. Two things I know (that you should probably investigate for yourself):
- I make too much (more than 400% of the poverty level) for a subsidy. I won’t be receiving any assistance in paying for our new Obamacare insurance premium. Calculate your subsidy at kff.org.
- I have to buy health insurance. If not, I will face a tax. Calculate your penalty at healthinsurance.org.
The only thing left to settle is *how* much this new insurance is going to cost me. It won’t be cheap. If the numbers I’m seeing pan out, my new premium will be between $700 and $1,000 per month. Right now I pay $381.30 for my family of four. I will reserve my frustration until I see the actual numbers. But it isn’t looking good.
The irony of my situation is that Mrs. PT and I are expecting our next child in April 2014. Under our old health insurance plan, we would be paying most, if not all of the costs to deliver the baby. That’s because Texas individual plans don’t cover maternity. This is something we’ve long been aware of and have been saving to prepare for.
Under Obamacare all Texas health insurance plans will be required to cover maternity. So our new plan could save us a considerable amount of money (depending on the actual coverage) in the short term. But the long-term (which is where most of my Obamacare concerns lie) will be considerably more expensive than I’m used to.