The health insurance marketplaces are now open for enrollment but there's still a lot of confusion about how the exchanges work, what insurance plans are offered and who qualifies for tax credits and subsidies.
Below we hope to answer some of your most pressing questions about how Louisiana's health insurance exchange works. If you have any further questions that are not on the list below, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to get them answered.
How can I access Louisiana's health insurance marketplace?
Since Gov. Bobby Jindal opted for Louisiana not to set up its own, the Bayou State's health insurance marketplace can be accessed via www.healthcare.gov.
What insurance companies are offering plans on Louisiana's health insurance marketplace and when does coverage begin?
Four companies are offering insurance plans through the Louisiana health insurance exchange: Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Louisiana, Humana, Louisiana Health Cooperative and Vantage. Coverage can begin as early as Jan. 1, 2014. The enrollment period for 2014 ends March 31, 2014.
Who can purchase insurance off the exchange?
Any one uninsured or who wishes to purchase their own health insurance can obtain insurance through the exchange. Even if you have insurance through your employer, you can opt to purchase an individual plan through the exchanges.
Who qualifies for tax credits?
Most low-to-moderate income individuals will qualify for tax credits. People who earn between 100 to 400 percent of the poverty level are eligible. For a family of four with an income of up to $94,200 are eligible. To be eligible for subsidies, you must purchase health insurance off the exchange.
HERE is a handy calculator from Kaiser to help you calculate your eligibility.
How much will purchasing insurance off the exchange cost?
A recent Rand Corps study project prices of premiums in Louisiana to be about 20 percent less than they are now. A report released by the Obama Administration said after tax credits, a 27-year-old living in Louisiana making $25,000 a year will pay, on average, $71 per month for the lowest cost bronze plan. While a family of four in Louisiana with an annual income of $50,000, will pay $15 per month on average for the lowest cost bronze plan after subsidies.
But the exact amount depends on several variables such as age, household income, place of residence, and whether an individual qualifies for tax credits or subsidies. Plans will range from high-deductible bronze plans to more expensive platinum plans but all of them will cover a comprehensive set of services such as hospital and doctor visits, maternity and mental health care, and medicine.
HERE is a calculator created by NPR to help get you started, but you'll need to get in touch with a navigator (explained below) or go through the online enrollment process to know exactly how much it will cost you.