Three health care myths affecting consumers in 2018

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 @ 09:02

Policy changes lead to confusion

When it comes to health care, things are as confusing as ever. Possible changes to the Affordable Care Act made plenty of headlines in 2017, but actual changes were few and far between. 

This disconnect has created a lot of misinformation. Polls show a third of Americans incorrectly believe President Trump has repealed the Affordable Care Act, and many other myths have cropped up around healthcare, especially regarding insurance and costs.

Here are three healthcare myths that could be costly for consumers in 2018.

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Tags: healthcare, aca, The Tennessean, individual mandate

Is Obamacare repeal over?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 @ 07:02

Repeal train slows, but what’s next?

Is the GOP giving up on Obamacare? Healthcare stakeholders and political news entities are suggesting as much. Forbes reports “insurer profits rise as Trump waves white flag on Obamacare,” noting the President mentioned Obamacare only once during his State of the Union address.

Politico reported there were no discussions of repeal and replace at a recent House and Senate joint retreat, and BenefitsPro said Republican leaders in the House and the Senate see a lot of risk and little reward in trying repeal again.

While hardly anything is certain when it comes to U.S. healthcare policy, if the GOP does move on to new priorities in 2018, where does that leave brokers and employers?

Here are three things employers should consider.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, obamacare, aca, employers, health insurance small employers, employer digest, employee benefit adviser, repeal and replace

Three open enrollment takeaways for Nashville

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Tue, Jan 30, 2018 @ 08:01

Trying to beat the tax time rush?

The most recent open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act marketplaces was unique. It was the first administered under anyone other than former President Obama, it was half as long as previous periods, and it was the last open enrollment for which the individual mandate applies.

These different circumstances may be signals of what’s to come for the ACA.

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Tags: healthcare, aca, HSA taxes, taxes, The Tennessean, individual mandate

Three healthcare tips for tax time

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Jan 15, 2018 @ 07:01

Trying to beat the tax time rush?

Mid-January marks the start of tax season, and health care items throughout the past year can impact how you file your taxes. 

This time of year typically creates a lot of consumer confusion, and getting all the facts straight can be tricky. With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate recently in the news, this topic is certain to cause particular issues this year. 

Aside from the individual mandate, other health care expenses can also affect your tax return, including Health Savings Accounts and high-cost medical expenses. 

If you’re trying to beat the tax time rush, here are a few tips on what you should know about these items.

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Tags: healthcare, aca, HSA taxes, taxes, The Tennessean, individual mandate

With the individual mandate repealed, three things to expect

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 @ 10:01

When is the repeal effective? 

Republicans successfully repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate through their tax reform legislation, which has created many questions for consumers.

How will this decision affect insurance markets and consumers’ ability to get coverage? Without additional legislative action, there are three things we can expect.

With the individual mandate repealed, many healthy people will drop their coverage. This will likely lead insurers to expect to lose money, and they will either exit the individual market or raise premiums. As a result, there will be increased pressure on Congress to come up with a solution before consumers’ access to coverage is reduced.

Let’s go through each of these predictions, but first, a little more on repeal.

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Tags: healthcare, aca, The Tennessean, individual mandate

What does the individual mandate repeal mean?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Thu, Dec 21, 2017 @ 10:12

What individuals should know

Congress successfully passed the Republican tax bill Wednesday, which includes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

What does this mean for consumers?

The individual mandate is the Obamacare policy that requires consumers who can afford health insurance to carry it. Under the ACA, if consumers choose to go uninsured, they face a penalty when they file their taxes for the year they lacked coverage.

The repeal is effective in 2019, meaning consumers who forgo health insurance in 2019 will not face a tax penalty in 2020.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, aca, Individual health insurance, Individual Plans, individual mandate, individual digest

Open enrollment ends Friday, Dec. 15

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 @ 08:12

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Sign up before the deadline for 2018 coverage

The deadline to sign up for 2018 individual health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges is this Friday, Dec. 15.

Consumers who need insurance should sign up before midnight on Friday. If you miss the deadline, you won’t be able to sign up without experiencing a qualifying event for special enrollment, like having a baby.

Here are a few things consumers should know.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, aca, Individual health insurance, marketplace, open enrollment, Individual Plans, individual digest

After a year of trying to repeal Obamacare, has anything changed?

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 @ 07:11

What's changed, and what's stayed the same?

In some ways, it’s remarkable we made it to open enrollment at all. 

This time last year, repeal seemed imminent. No one could say with any certainty that the ACA would still be functioning in time for open enrollment.

Repeal seemed likely throughout the year, too. Plenty of plans were proposed, but at the end of the year, all it amounted to was noise. For the fifth year in a row, open enrollment rolls on. 

But a year of attempting to repeal the law has introduced more confusion into an already complex situation. Consumers have questions: Can I continue my plan from last year? Am I still required to sign up for coverage? 

Let’s take a look at what has, and hasn’t, changed.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, aca, open enrollment, The Tennessean, individual market, federal exchanges, individual digest

Comparing Nashville’s 2018 marketplace plans

Posted by Alex Tolbert on Mon, Nov 13, 2017 @ 09:11

Get ready to sign up for coverage

Last month, Vanderbilt University Medical Center made headlines for agreeing to be included in-network with Cigna for the carrier’s Affordable Care Act plans in Nashville.

Before the deal was inked, VUMC was not in-network with either of the carriers offering marketplace plans next year, which caused a lot of consumer anxiety.

In my last column, I asked—does this mean consumers should choose Cigna? Does every consumer need access at Vanderbilt?

In this column, we’ll try to answer that question, and compare the options available in Nashville.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, healthcare, aca, open enrollment, The Tennessean, individual market, federal exchanges, individual digest

How to compare plans during open enrollment

Posted by Emily Kubis on Wed, Nov 08, 2017 @ 10:11

Three things to consider

Trying to find coverage for 2018? It can be overwhelming to compare all the options available on the individual marketplace. How do you know if you have found the right plan for you and your family?

When comparing plans, there are three things to consider. Use these criteria to find the best possible option.

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Tags: Affordable Care Act, aca, Individual health insurance, marketplace, open enrollment, Individual Plans, individual digest

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