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What’s new with the Marketplace Insurance in Virginia?

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On March 31, 2014, the deadline for The Federal Health Insurance Marketplace plans will take place for the 2014 tax year. Citizens who make approximately $15,000* annually will have a chance to sign up for the plans or to see if they qualify. Here are other changes occurring with the Marketplace Insurance, by age group and other demographics.

0-17 years of age. For you or your child between 0-18 years of age, insurance should be on the parent's plan, even if the child is of working age, which is provided through the employer(s) or other private insurance. If you or your parents do not have coverage, and the income is under $25,000 per year, they would qualify for Medicaid or the Chip plan through the State of Virginia. If the family income is over $25,000 annually, and the current insurance premiums are too high, there is the option of signing up with the Marketplace for this year's insurance plans. If they miss signing up by March 31st, they can sign up with the plan for next year in November of 2014. Either way, as long as they currently maintain their plans, there will be no fee. To compare prices or sign up with the Marketplace insurance, visit the website of www.healthcare.gov.

18-26 years of age (dependent, no children). Your parent's insurance carrier can no longer terminate a child for turning 21 years of age, or becoming a college graduate. Insurance can be covered until the age of 26 years under the parent's plan.

18 and over (independent, no children). If you are over eighteen, and you are working full or part-time, make over $15,000* a year, are independent of your parents, you qualify for insurance under the Federal Government and should apply through the website or you can remain on your parent’s insurance. Either way, if you're working part-time, are a student and make under $15,000*, you are not eligible for insurance on your own under the Marketplace. The Government assumes that if you are low income, you may be married or living with your parents, and therefore would be placed on someone else’s insurance. Locally, alternative options, are contacting Access Now, funded by the Richmond Academy of Medicine, a network and resource for those without insurance in the Greater Richmond area, The Bon Secours Care-a-Van Services, outreach clinics who provide free services, and several independent clinics or physicians who serve the public or a sliding scale, or provide payment plans. Catastrophe insurance in the private market is possible, if you're willing to apply. These are high deductible plans, with expenses for regular visits coming out of your pockets.

50-64 years of age. If you're are no longer working, and have lost insurance, depending on the above factors, you may gain insurance through Medicaid, the Marketplace, or private insurance. Disability benefits may qualify you for Medicare. Depending on your income, you may qualify for Medicaid. You may possibly qualify for Insurance subsidies, where you pay premiums and are reimbursed.

65 and older. At age 65 and you've worked for an employer for a set amount of time, you qualify for Medicare, or if you were married and your spouse received benefits. If you currently receive Medicare, other than changes recommendations on medical procedures, and reduced prescriptions costs, there are little changes to your plan and you need to make no changes.

What’s important to remember is that is you don't qualify for insurance, you won't have to worry about a big fee, it’s only 6 % of your yearly income. Also if you're already on a plan, you don't have to worry about changing to the Marketplace insurance. If you miss the deadline for Marketplace, you can apply for private insurance for the duration of the year, and not be penalized as long as there is less than a 3 month gap in insurance. Also, preventative care dental services are covered for children under the Marketplace under certain plans. Virginia Commonwealth University also offers discounts services through their Dental School.

Currently, the State of Virginia is working on the State Budget. So far, it has not been approved to expand Medicaid, even though the program is partially funded by the Federal Government. Governor McCauliffe (D), wants to convince state legislators to give a two-year trial run for Medicaid expansion. Currently, if you apply online and the system's busy, you will be given lee-way, as long as the process was initiated before March 31st.

Resources:
Access Now, www.ramdocs.org
Bon Secours Mission and outreach, www.richmond.bonsecours.com
Virginia Commonwealth University’s Dental Clinic, www.vcudentalcare.com
www.scc.virginiastate.gov

*In Virginia, the rate is $11, 410 per person, and just over $1 5,000 for a couple.

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