With 3 days & counting and a looming tax penalty for thousands of Chicagoans, one firm is providing free solutions. PlanMatcher™ has been working tirelessly to sign up individuals for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act before the March 31st deadline. The following penalties for failure to obtain coverage after that will be assessed (with a few exceptions):
- $95 per Adult.
- $47.50 per child for a max of $285 per family.
- or 1% of the household income (which ever is greater).
- Large businesses will receive an extension until 2015 for offering 70 percent of 100 or more full-time employees who work 35 or more hours. Those with 50 or more full-time employees will receive an extension until 2016.
- Smaller businesses with 50 or less full-time employees are exempt.
The cost of insurance will depend on the individual’s household size, current residence, age, whether you smoke or not and the type of insurance plan purchased. Discounts on monthly costs based on income may apply, if eligible. To begin the process, the following information is needed: social security card, paystubs, W-2 forms, and other tax information. (Financial assistance from the government may be available for those who earn under $45,960 as an individual and $94,200 for a family of four). All services through PlanMatcher™ are provided at no cost to the consumer. In addition, they uses evidence based health technology to “fast path” individuals for pre-existing conditions support for individuals with asthma, depression, high blood pressure and high cholesterol producing even more cost savings.
If you purchase a plan between March 16th – March 31st, coverage begins on May 1st. All registrations must go through the Marketplace where you can compare options. But those individuals with Medicaid or Medicare may not have to buy more health coverage. For more clarity, the Kaiser Foundation developed a terrific video, “The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare.”
According to Illinois Health Matters, over 810,000 adults (25% of the population who are ages 19-64 in Cook County) are currently uninsured.3 In this same area, it is estimated over 940,000 individuals require medications.
The company, User Health Systems, Inc. of Chicago, uses the popular name "PlanMatcher." PlanMatcher™, an internet health insurance brokerage company, is one of only four companies in Chicago to receive federal approval. Its principals are Christian Wells, Vinson Gracia, and Ronald Lump. “We help individuals understand the true cost of a prescription when selecting a healthcare plan," said Christian Wells, the company Founder. “We also sort through the various plans to best meet consumer needs and medications. Sometimes the lowest cost plan, over the long run, ends up costing more when you factor in pre-existing conditions and other health needs.” They have evolved over the years with the assistance of the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center of DePaul University and several DePaul professors.