What does it mean for me?

Simply put, having health insurance is no longer optional. The health care law requires that you have a health plan beginning January 1, 2014. Illness and injuries are a part of life. And while no one plans to get sick or hurt, you can plan ahead by buying the right insurance coverage for you and your family. It’s always been the smart thing to do for your health — now it’s the law.

What Do I Need To Do Now?

If you are currently uninsured or are looking to buy insurance, you can purchase a new health plan from Independence Blue Cross at www.ibx4you.com or through the government-run Health Insurance Marketplace from October 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014. During this enrollment period, you’ll explore your options, decide which of the coverage levels best fits your needs, then buy a health plan from Independence Blue Cross or the Health Insurance Marketplace.

We’ve created a video to answer five common questions people are asking:

We’ve created two simple checklists to help you prepare for open enrollment:

How to Get Ready for the Health Care Law
What You Need to Apply for Health Insurance

What Does It Cost?

This is a tough question to answer. While the new health care law will lower costs for some people, some may pay more for their health plan. However, the government is committed to helping as many people as possible get health insurance — and making health plans more affordable.

Tax credits & subsidies

The government will be providing tax credits or subsidies to help people, including working families, pay for health insurance. The tax credits will be based on how much money you make each year and the number of people in your family. If you qualify, you may be able to:

  • Get free health insurance through Medicaid.
  • Reduce your monthly premium costs.
  • Reduce your monthly premium costs — plus get a break on the cost-sharing amount you pay each time you need medical care.

As you’re shopping for a plan, Independence Blue Cross and the Marketplace will display what your premiums will be after the tax credit is applied, making it easy to know what you have to pay each month.

How a tax credit may work for you:

How a tax credit may work for you

You can apply a tax credit to any of the bronze, silver, gold, or platinum plans. However, to receive a cost-sharing subsidy, you must choose a plan from the silver coverage tier. For more details and to determine if you’ll be able to get help from the government, see Page 14 of our Health Care Law & You guide.

Penalties

If you do not have a health plan, you may be charged a penalty when you file your annual income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. The penalty increases over the next few years, and you will be charged the greater of these amounts:

  • 2014 penalty: $95 or 1% of your taxable income
  • 2015 penalty: $325 or 2% of your taxable income
  • 2016 penalty: $695 or 2.5% of your taxable income

Penalties are applied per person. You may be exempt from the penalty if you are facing serious financial problems, have certain religious beliefs, or meet other qualifications. To get more information, visit www.healthcare.gov.

What’s Next?

Keep these key dates in mind as the health care law takes effect:

October 1, 2013:

Enrollment on www.ibx4you.com and the government-run Health Insurance Marketplace for new plans begins. There will be a specific enrollment period every year during which you can renew or change your health plan.

January 1, 2014:

First day new coverage can begin. You must enroll by 12/15 to have coverage effective 1/1. You can apply for coverage after 12/15, but you may be subject to a penalty. The chart below shows the cutoff dates for enrollment and dates that your coverage would be effective.

Cutoff Date Effective Date
12/15
1/15
2/15
3/15
3/16-3/31
1/1
2/1
3/1
4/1
5/1

March 31, 2014:

Enrollment period for 2014 ends.

If you experience a life event change, you will be able to apply for individual coverage after March 31, 2014. You will need to complete your application within 60 days of your life event. Examples of life event changes include:

  • Giving birth to a baby.
  • Moving to a different state.
  • Losing your health care coverage from your employer.
  • Becoming eligible for different products due to changes in your income.