Five Things Californians Should Know

Healthcare Coverage in 2014: Five Things Californians Should Know

WHY CARE ABOUT HEALTHCARE, AND WHY NOW? It’s important for you and your family to be able to see a doctor if you’re sick or injured. Health insurance can help offer financial security if you need medication or to go to a hospital. You can also catch health problems early before they get too serious. If you don’t have health insurance, you may have to go to an emergency room to get care. That’s expensive.

You’ve probably heard about the Affordable Care Act, the new health law known as Obamacare, which was passed to help make health insurance more affordable for Americans.

This means most Californians will be required to have health insurance, beginning in 2014. Purchasing healthcare can be confusing and overwhelming. Here are five things you should know about obtaining health coverage:

 

Five Things Californians Should Know

You may qualify for financial help from the government to buy health insurance.
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If health insurance was too expensive in the past, you may be eligible for programs to help you pay for it. Insurance is important for a couple of reasons. Most people will be required to have coverage beginning January 1, 2014, or pay a penalty. Also, if you have an illness or injury and need to see the doctor or go to the hospital, your coverage can help you get the care you need.Your insurance company will help you pay the bills in exchange for the payments (premiums) you pay each month.

Five Things Californians Should Know

You should expect to pay at least part of your healthcare coverage.
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Image of You should expect to pay at least part of your healthcare coverage.

While various options are available, you likely will be required to pay part of your healthcare costs in 2014. If you haven’t had insurance before, or it has been awhile since you’ve had coverage, it’s a good idea to learn about the different costs.In addition to paying all or a portion of the health insurance premium, you will contribute to the cost of your care in a couple ways:

Five Things Californians Should Know

Covered California™ can help you find the best plan for you and your family.
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Covered California, www.coveredca.com, is a new online insurance marketplace where individuals and small businesses can compare and choose health plans. You also can see if you qualify for financial assistance. You can start signing up for coverage starting Oct.1, 2013, and be covered under your new plan starting Jan.1, 2014.

If you need help selecting a plan, Covered California has some tools that might be useful for you:

Five Things Californians Should Know

There will be plans for a variety of budgets.
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Image of There will be plans for a variety of budgets.

Choose your plan based on what you need and can afford.The four basic coverage levels are platinum, gold, silver and bronze.As the metal category decreases in value (platinum highest, bronze lowest) so does the percent of medical expenses that are covered.If you pay a higher monthly premium for your plan, you will generally pay less when you receive a medical service. A lower monthly premium will generally require higher out-of-pocket costs when you receive care.Catastrophic plans, which are less expensive and provide minimal coverage, may be available to p

Five Things Californians Should Know

You could face a tax penalty if you don’t have health insurance.
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If you don’t buy coverage, or go without it for three months, you may be charged a tax penalty by the government.

In the first year, the penalty is $95 per person or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater. The penalty rises to $695 per person or 2.5 percent of income in 2016.Even children are subject to penalties—half the amount of adults—if they are not covered by health insurance.

Five Things Californians Should Know

Additional Resources

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For more information on the Affordable Care Act and what it means for Californians, here are additional resources:

Covered California, www.coveredca.com: The statewide health insurance marketplace where individuals and small-business owners can get more information to compare and choose health plans.Phone number: 1-888-975-1142.

Five Things Californians Should Know

Get Prepared

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Here’s what information or items you will need to get started.

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