Thanks for joining our live chat answering questions about the open enrollment process under the Affordable Care Act. You can ask questions here, or submit them on Twitter using #openenrollia. We're going to get started in about 5 minutes.
by KCRG-TV911/13/2014 10:55:31 PM
Hello Everyone. I am a Certified Application Counselor with Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids. I have a background in Human Resources, Training and Benefit Education. Ask away.
by ntutton11/13/2014 11:05:20 PM
I am Stacy M., Certified Application Counselor with UnityPoint St. Luke's Hospital. I have a background in education, human services and am also a Medicaid Specialist at the hospital. Ready for questions too.
by Stacy_CAC11/13/2014 11:07:09 PM
This is Kathy, with CoOportunity Health. Ready for questions.
by Kathy Mabe11/13/2014 11:09:30 PM
Our first question comes from Melissa Wulf on the KCRG-TV9 Facebook page. Stacy, let's direct it at you: My year for health insurance at work goes from July 1st to June 30th. I can not drop from this plan unless we have a qualifying event....do I have the option too look at marketplace plans or private plans (through places like welmark) to compare with my work based plans during their open enrollment (usually may for coverage to start July 1st)?
by KCRG-TV911/13/2014 11:11:47 PM
I am going to jump in also. You can compare to other plans, but in a lot of cases, the employer is paying part or all of the single premium, so you have to consider that.
by Kathy Mabe11/13/2014 11:14:00 PM
Melissa, you can always look at plans. However, to enroll in the Marketplace and qualify for premium tax credits, your insurance at your employer needs to be 9.5% of less of your gross income for a single policy. There is no open enrollment period for Medicaid.
by Stacy_CAC11/13/2014 11:14:16 PM
you can browse coverage and have an estimate of the premiums and assistance by going to
HealthCare.govSee your individual health care rights at Healthcare.gov. Get high-quality low-cost coverage under Obamacare at the Health Insurance Marketplace
by Stacy_CAC11/13/2014 11:16:51 PM
Once a plan is chosen how does someone pay? Does the company bill directly? So Nikole, how does that work?
by paula weber edited by KCRG-TV911/13/2014 11:16:58 PM
Healthcare.gov will provide member detail to the insurance companies and we will bill the individual.
by Kathy Mabe11/13/2014 11:21:10 PM
Our next question comes from Kim Cook. Stacy, can you answer it?
by KCRG-TV911/13/2014 11:21:52 PM
Hi, I signed up for health care last year on healthcare.gov. Earlier in Oct I received a letter informing me that that coverage will not be available in 2015, but offered a similar coverage for $70+ more per month. Is this going to be a normal event for offerings through Health care.gov? The 2014 premium was affordable, not so much the 2015 one.
by firstname.lastname@example.org/13/2014 11:21:54 PM
If the individual is eligible for tax credits/subsidies, HC.gov will send their portion of the payment to the insurance company and the individual will send the remaining amount owed.
by Kathy Mabe11/13/2014 11:22:01 PM
Every year there could be rate increases, changes in networks (providers, doctors, etc.) and some tweaks to the actual coverage due to the actuarial value calculator by all companies on the Marketplace.
by Kathy Mabe11/13/2014 11:23:23 PM
You do not have to take the premium tax credits montly. You also have the choice to take it at the end of the year at tax time. Once you have applied and chosen a plan, it will give you the option of how you want to use the premium tax credits, if eligible, at that time.
by Stacy_CAC11/13/2014 11:23:25 PM
You can pay your monthly premium to the insurance carrier by check or automatic bank transfer( or ACH). The first payment is the most important as your coverage does not begin until the insurance carrier receives it.
by ntutton11/13/2014 11:24:06 PM
For coverage beginning on January 1, the carrier MUST receive payment by December 15.
by ntutton11/13/2014 11:24:41 PM
Kim, make sure you go to the Marketplace to update your information and apply for this year. You may receive more tax credits. The majority of your information will already be completed.
by Stacy_CAC11/13/2014 11:24:53 PM
Kim, the premiums are also based on the area you live in and your age. Seeing premium changes will likely be normal.
by Stacy_CAC11/13/2014 11:25:47 PM
Also remember if you are changing coverage or terminating coverage with your current carrier thru HC.gov, if you signed up for ACH, make sure and terminate that through the website so the premium is not deducted by the company that you are terming with.
by Kathy Mabe11/13/2014 11:25:55 PM
Our next question comes from Bob. Nikole, can you answer it?
by KCRG-TV911/13/2014 11:28:16 PM
How is the income determined? Is it gross or net income? Are there any items deducted, such as charitable giving or medical expenses?
by Bob11/13/2014 11:28:18 PM
It is the Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI).
by Kathy Mabe11/13/2014 11:29:16 PM
Hi Bob- the income is forecasted from your 2014 paychecks for the year. It is an estimate that is reconciled when you file your tax return. On the MC.gov, you can put in as hourly and average hours worked per week too.
by ntutton11/13/2014 11:31:26 PM
Your MAGI is usually very close to the Adjusted Gross Income on your 1040 tax form. Line 37.
by Stacy_CAC11/13/2014 11:32:43 PM
This next question comes from Twitter: Do I have to do anything if I just want to stock with the same plan?
by KCRG-TV911/13/2014 11:33:58 PM
Stacy, can you answer it?
by KCRG-TV911/13/2014 11:34:12 PM
healthcare.gov recommends five things: Review, update, compare, choose and enroll. Plans can change. You should go to www.healthcare.gov or call the Marketplace to update your income information because your premium assistance may change.
by Stacy_CAC11/13/2014 11:35:34 PM
It really is recommended that individuals go back to the Marketplace and update their information to see if they qualify for additional subsidies (especially if there are rate increases). Networks change also, so the providers you are using right now might not be part of a particular network.
by Kathy Mabe11/13/2014 11:36:17 PM
And with more competition on the marketplace, it is always a good idea to check it out.
by ntutton11/13/2014 11:38:06 PM
Our next question comes from Steve. Nikole, can you answer it?
by KCRG-TV911/13/2014 11:38:28 PM
Coventry Health said my plan will not be available next year and put me in a different plan. Will they let me know which one?
by Steve11/13/2014 11:38:44 PM
Coventry Health should let you know which one they put you on and give you a chance to choose another. Check out the Summary of Benefits, the Drug list and the In-Network providers to MAKE sure it is right for you. CAC's can help you with this too.
by ntutton11/13/2014 11:40:37 PM
If you don't already have a CAC, you can go to our website and on the right side you will see a pink tab that says: Help Me Find A....... and if you click on that you will find a link that will help you find CACs and agents and brokers.
by Kathy Mabe11/13/2014 11:42:35 PM
Steve has a follow-up for Kathy.
by KCRG-TV911/13/2014 11:47:37 PM
Which web site?
by Steve11/13/2014 11:47:39 PM
Hi Steve, Sorry - trying to type fast.
by Kathy Mabe11/13/2014 11:48:03 PM
by Kathy Mabe11/13/2014 11:48:15 PM
Our next question comes from Brad. Stacy, can you answer it?
by KCRG-TV911/13/2014 11:48:33 PM
if you live in Linn County, just dial 211 and they can help schedule an appointment with a CAC
by Stacy_CAC11/13/2014 11:48:50 PM
My wife currently has our coverage through her employer but will be changing jobs where the new employer does not offer insurance. Mine does not either. Does that change our status as far as subsidies go?
by Brad edited by KCRG-TV911/13/2014 11:49:01 PM
Your subsidies are based on your tax filing status. Losing or changing jobs is a life changing event so you do not have to wait until open enrollment to apply.
by Stacy_CAC11/13/2014 11:49:52 PM
If you were previously receiving coverage through the Marketplace, you will want to update your information and if your wife needs coverage too, then make sure you are apply for her too.
by Stacy_CAC11/13/2014 11:50:55 PM
Brad has a follow-up for Stacy.
by KCRG-TV911/13/2014 11:51:55 PM
When going to the marketplace for an estimate, would I check has coverage thru an employer or not?