If you are like most people, you are tired of hearing the negativity and political talk about healthcare reform and just want some straight answers on how it affects you. So, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts on how healthcare reform will affect you, the retiree.
If you are on MCHA (Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association) insurance plan because you’ve been turned down for private insurance, you will benefit the most from the health-care reform. Beginning January 1, 2014, insurance companies can no longer deny Minnesotans coverage due to pre-existing health conditions and must give you access to health insurance for the same premium as others in your age group. As a result, MCHA will close on December 31, 2014.
You need to know you can remain on MCHA through December 2014, however, you may want to consider finding a plan during the open enrollment period of October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. Minnesota has an on-line marketplace where you can compare and purchase plans at www.mnsure.org. If you don’t want to decipher this on your own, consult a local insurance agent who can provide guidance to help you make the best decision based on your specific situation.
Here are some facts to consider:
- You may qualify for a tax credit which decreases the amount of your premium (if you fall below 400% of the federal poverty level.)
- The new Essential Health Benefits provide you with no-cost preventive care services which you will not have access to if you stay on MCHA.
- Purchasing a plan on or before December 15, 2013 for January 1, 2014 coverage will help you avoid paying two deductibles.
- Assistance with your application is available either online or by a MN licensed agent.
If you are on Medicare, you may want to sit down with your agent during the annual election period of October 15 through December 7, 2013 to discuss the new plans for 2014. If your plan is going to be discontinued, letters will be mailed out on October 2, 2013 and you will have an additional special election period to choose a new plan in addition to the annual election period.
Trends to watch in Medicare plans include:
• Medical deductibles on health plans.
• A shift to per diem reimbursement on some services.
• Reward programs as incentive to get preventive screenings and participate in exercise programs.
• Integrated care delivery and more personal involvement from your insurance carrier to assist you in recovery and managing chronic illness.
• Extra services with Medicare Supplemental plans like dental and vision to remain competitive with Medicare Advantage plans.
If you are a Veteran receiving your medical care at the VA Medical Center, you may want to consider a back-up health plan. Depending on your disability rating, you may not be reimbursed for medical emergencies which could result in paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. Plans are available with no annual premium cost. You only pay a co-pay when you use the plan for doctor visits, ambulance, hospitalization and more. Keep in mind you can receive preventive care services with no copay.
For more information on the topics discussed here or anything centered around aging, please call me or visit the website: www.liferesourcesgroup.com
Grace Gulden, licensed agent and trusted advisor
Life Resources Group, LLC.