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Uninsured Won’t Fly Under the Radar During 2017 Open Enrollment

Uninsured Won’t Fly Under the Radar During 2017 Open Enrollment

Posted Oct 27, 2016 by Jenifer Dorsey

Federal government to enhance increase outreach efforts in an effort to bolster exchange health

Get ready for some extra attention from the Obama administration this open enrollment season.

Uninsured? You may get a letter from the IRS.

Jilted by your health insurance company? The government may recommend a replacement.

Between the ages of 18 and 34? Prepare to get some extra advertising attention during 2017 open enrollment.

It is no secret that the federal government is targeting certain populations in an effort to strengthen the Marketplace (i.e., HealthCare.gov).[1] New tactics for 2017 open enrollment are, in other words, an attempt to keep Obamacare out of the so-called death spiral.

Below are three tactics to be aware of as 2017 open enrollment begins on Nov. 1. Consider this your heads up because some of them may catch you by surprise.

1. If you paid the Obamacare tax penalty or took an exemption, you may get a letter from the IRS.

In an unprecedented move, the IRS will send letters to the estimated 8 million taxpayers who either paid the individual shared responsibility payment or claimed an exemption for 2015.[2],[3] The rational is that these targeted messages will heighten awareness that the tax penalty for going without health insurance and offer information about the availability of financial assistance, thereby increasing enrollment.[4]

As you would expect, not everyone is thrilled with this method. In a letter to IRS, House leaders expressed concern that the IRS may be overstepping its bounds, stating, “We strongly object to any action by the Administration to improperly use sensitive taxpayer information to identify and harass individuals who have rejected the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by choosing to pay a tax rather than be forced into a health care plan they don’t need and don’t want,”[5]

Things to keep in mind

  • If you are not sure a communication you receive is legitimate, visit IRS.gov to learn what to do when you receive suspicious IRS-related email, phone calls, mail, faxes, text messages and more.
  • These letters are not forcing you to buy health insurance, though you may owe a tax penalty if you go without ACA-compliant coverage and are not exempt from the individual shared responsibility provision.
  • A health insurance agent can help you explore your options when it comes to finding health plans that meet your needs.

 

Find a local agent

 

2. If your 2016 health plan will be discontinued, you may be automatically enrolled in another one.

Your health insurance company has or will send you a discontinuation notice before open enrollment if your current plan will no longer be available in 2017. Shortly after open enrollment begins, you are likely to receive a follow-up notice matching you with another plan.[6]

Because the government is concerned about those with discontinued coverage failing to choose a replacement plan, notices will include language explaining that consumers who do not enroll in a new plan on their own “may be automatically enrolled in the plan picked for you.”[7] You read that correctly. You will not simply receive a suggestion or recommendation; you may actually be signed up for another plan, possibly with another company.

Things to keep in mind

  • You do not have to take this coverage – even if you were to be automatically enrolled, you would have to pay the first month’s premium to activate it.[8]
  • You may be eligible for a subsidy, including premium tax credits and cost sharing reductions, when you buy health insurance from your state-based or federally facilitated exchange and meet certain income requirements.
  • You are encouraged to shop around and choose a plan on your own or with the help of a licensed agent who can assist you in finding plans on and away from the government exchanges.

 

Visit the 2017 Open Enrollment Resource Center

 

3. If you are a young adult, Obamacare wants you.

Because younger people are typically healthier and require fewer healthcare services, they help insurance companies balance the cost of older consumers who typically have more health issues and require more care.[9] Currently, young adults make up less than 30 percent of Obamacare customers, which is short of the 40 percent goal the White House set to sustain a healthy marketplace.[10]

As such, the government has been amping up its outreach to adults between ages 18 to 34. Efforts will include email messages; new guidance encouraging employers to provide additional information to young adults turning age 26 and moving off a parent’s plan; and public-private partnerships with organizations such as Lyft, the American Hospital Association, and more than 75 others.[11]

Things to keep in mind

  • Young adults have a range of options when it comes to ACA-compliant coverage. Such options include a parent’s plan, subsidy-eligible Obamacare plans, and Medicaid – all dependent on meeting eligibility criteria.
  • Since buying your own health insurance may be new to you, you may find that working with a licensed agent can help you find coverage that strikes a balance between cost and benefits.
  • Buying more coverage may seem counterintuitive, but critical illness, dental, hospital indemnity, and medical gap plans are relatively low-cost supplemental products that may reduce your out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

 

Explore options and get quotes on your own

 

Questions? Call the number at the top of your screen to speak with a certified health insurance producer right now.

 



[1] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Strengthening the Marketplace by Covering Young Adults [Press Release].” June 21, 2016. https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2016-Fact-sheets-items/2016-06-21.html

[2] Ibid.

[3] Jost, Timothy. “CMS Details Open Enrollment Strategy (With Risk Corridor Litigation Update).” Health Affairs Blog. Oct. 13, 2016. http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2016/10/13/cms-details-open-enrollment-strategy/

[4] Ibid.

[5] Turner, Grace-Marie. “IRS to Target Citizens Who Aren’t Buying Obamacare Insurance.” Forbes. Sept. 21, 2016. http://www.forbes.com/sites/gracemarieturner/2016/09/21/irs-to-target-citizens-who-arent-buying-obamacare-insurance

[6] Tribune News Services. “Government to Pick Plans for Displaced Health Law Coustomers.” Chicago Tribune. Oct. 6, 2016. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-obamacare-displaced-health-law-customers-20161006-story.html

[7] Pear, Robert. “Can’t Finda Plan on HealthCare.gov? One May Be Picked for You.” The New York Times. Oct. 8, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/09/us/politics/cant-find-a-plan-on-healthcaregov-one-may-be-picked-for-you.html?_r=0

[8] Ibid.

[9] Pradhan, Rachana and Paul Demko. “Obamacare’s Millennial Problem.” Politico. Oct. 4, 2016. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/obamacare-millennial-problem-229071

[10] Ibid.

[11] Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Strengthening the Marketplace by Covering Young Adults [Press Release].” June 21, 2016. https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2016-Fact-sheets-items/2016-06-21.html

This document is for general informational purposes only. While we have attempted to provide current and accurate information, this information is provided "as is" and we make no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should not be construed as legal or tax advice or as a recommendation of any kind. External users should seek professional advice from their own attorneys and tax and benefit plan advisers with respect to their individual circumstances and needs.

METAL GAP
THIS PLAN IS NOT CONSIDERED TO BE MINIMAL ESSENTIAL COVERAGE AS DEFINED BY THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA). ENROLLING IN AND MAINTAINING THIS PLAN WILL NOT EXEMPT YOU FROM THE SHARED RESPONSIBILITY PAYMENT (TAX) THAT MAY APPLY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A PLAN WITH ACA-COMPLIANT COVERAGE.

HOSPITAL INDEMNITY
THIS IS A SUPPLEMENT TO HEALTH INSURANCE AND IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE MINIMUM ESSENTIAL COVERAGE REQUIRED BY THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA) LACK OF MAJOR MEDICAL COVERAGE (OR OTHER MINIMUM ESSENTIAL COVERAGE) MAY RESULT IN AN ADDITIONAL PAYMENT WITH YOUR TAXES.

DENTAL
THIS PLAN DOES NOT MEET MINIMAL ESSENTIAL COVERAGE REQUIREMENTS FOR PEDIATRIC DENTAL SERVICES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA) PROVISIONS.

CRITICAL ILLNESS
A CRITICAL ILLNESS INSURANCE PLAN PAYS OUT LUMP-SUM CASH BENEFITS UPON DIAGNOSIS OF CERTAIN COVERED ILLNESSES AS SHOWN IN THE CERTIFICATE. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED TO QUALIFY AS THE MINIMUM ESSENTIAL COVERAGE REQUIRED BY THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT (ACA).

About The IHC Group
Independence Holding Company (NYSE: IHC) is a holding company that is principally engaged in underwriting, administering and/or distributing group and individual disability, specialty and supplemental health, pet, and life insurance through its subsidiaries since 1980. The IHC Group owns three insurance companies (Standard Security Life Insurance Company of New York, Madison National Life Insurance Company, Inc. and Independence American Insurance Company) and IHC Specialty Benefits, Inc., which is a technology-driven insurance sales and marketing company that creates value for insurance producers, carriers and consumers (both individuals and small businesses) through a suite of proprietary tools and products (including ACA plans and small group medical stop-loss). All products are placed with highly rated carriers.

IHC Specialty Benefits, Inc.
IHC Specialty Benefits, Inc., doing business as Health eDeals Insurance Solutions is a full-service marketing and distribution company that focuses on small employer, individual and consumer products. Health eDeals markets products via general agents online, telebrokerage, advisor centers, private label and directly to consumers. For more information about Health eDeals visit http://www.HealtheDeals.com.