The big unknown is how you will use health care services in the next year. If you historically visit a doctor for the occasional sports injury, allergies, or to have wax removed from your ears, even if you visit the doctor more than 3 times (the Bronze 60 limit), you may still be money ahead with the Bronze plan.
California Health Insurance
Posts specifically related to California health insurance, enrollment, premiums, plans, termination, Covered California, Medi-Cal, Medicare, small groups.
There are a couple of different reasons why health insurance companies may be reluctant to extend a grace period beyond the current 30-day date range. The first reason is California’s expanded Medi-Cal option. If an individual or family has a sudden decrease of income – below 138 percent of the federal poverty level for adults – and they do not have employer sponsored health insurance, they can immediately apply for Medi-Cal and get coverage at no cost.
Occasionally, I am asked whether I am an insurance agent or a broker. The underlying premise of the question is that the person does not want their insurance options limited to only those insurance companies the agent represents. The assumption is that a broker will not steer the client into an insurance policy that he or she receives the highest commission for. For the purposes of this discussion involving health insurance, there are no brokers, we are all agents. But not all agents are equal when it comes to the health plans they represent.
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On the old 1040 tax forms you report any repayment of excess Premium Tax Credit on line 46, and any additional PTC owed to you on line 69. For 2018, repayment of the PTC subsidy is reported on Schedule 2 Tax (line 46) and additional subsidy tax credit is listed on Schedule 5 (line 70) Other Payments and Refundable Credits. It’s important to know where to find these numbers if you are trying to forecast for the next year and are using the past figures as a guide.
So here is the third subsidy bonus for large families. Not only are you billed for only three children, but you get a larger subsidy based on the entire household size. When you combine that with the inflated Silver plan rates, relative to the lower off-exchange Silver plans, large families get a nice subsidy to lower their health insurance premiums. You don’t pay for any more than three children, but you get the Premium Tax Credit as if the whole family were being billed for health insurance.
The Health Net PPO, not to be confused with the EnhancedCare PPO offered through Covered California, is the only plan that will give plan members access to both the Stanford doctors and hospital. These plans are only sold off-exchange or directly from Health Net. Plan enrollment is limited to certain regions and counties within California.
Not all family members have to have the same carrier either. Some family members can enroll with a more expensive PPO plan while other individuals enroll in an HMO from the same company or completely different carrier. I have clients where some family members have chosen the Blue Shield PPO plan and other household members are with a less expensive Kaiser plan.
The underlying assumption is that honest and ethical people will continue to pay their premiums even after their health care challenge has passed. But these people who cancel the health plan after treatment don’t value health insurance and don’t understand the financial structure necessary to keep the rates low for everyone. Their actions of terminating health insurance after they have received their expensive health care services are driving up the rates for everyone.
In December, during the Open Enrollment Period, she enrolled in the previous health plan for the 2018 year. The health plan took her first month’s premium payment, applied it to her past due balance, and then terminated her coverage at Covered California. Under the new rules the health plan is within their rights to take her money and deny her coverage for 2018.