Established in March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA – commonly referred to as Obamacare), was created to provide quality and affordable coverage to everyone.

Insurers are required to offer the same rates to all applicants of the same age and geographical location regardless of gender and cannot deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions – tobacco users will still be required to pay a higher premium. Therefore, health insurance policies are generally issued on a guaranteed-issue basis.

Every policy will have a minimum set of 10 essential health benefits that must be covered.

Beginning January 2014, Individual mandates require everyone to secure a health insurance policy or pay a penalty, unless they already have a group health policy, Medicaid, Medicare, or other public insurance programs (e.g. Tricare). Some exceptions are made if the applicable individual has a financial hardship or is a member of a recognized religious sect that is exempted by the IRS. Subsidies are available to help people with low incomes comply with the mandates.

You can secure your coverage on or off the health insurance exchanges (click here to learn about the differences between plans on and off the exchanges). These exchanges were set up in every state and serve as a marketplace online where people can compare and purchase health plans. The open enrollment period in 2014 will be from October 1, 2014 to March 31, 2014. While not yet officially set, the proposed open enrollment period for 2015 is from November 15, 2014 to January 15, 2015.

Federal subsidies may be available for low income individuals and families who purchase their health plan on the exchange. Their income must be between 100%-400% of the federal poverty limit. The amount of a subsidy a person can qualify for is based on a sliding scale.

If you have any questions about health insurance plans or would like a free quote comparison, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-571-2980. You can also reach us by e-mail at 24 hours a day.