ObamaCare and You: More Fun with Regulations

10190385_mIf you’re not sure what the Affordable Care Act (ACA or ObamaCare) means for you, you’re not alone. You may be unsure if your employer’s insurance company will renew your policy, cancel it or increase your premium. If you’re self-insured, you may be trying to make sense of what’s available. Will you be eligible for a subsidy or subject to a penalty? Is it better to stay on a spouse’s policy or get individual coverage?

Holly and David McCombs are looking at their situation and trying to determine which path for covering their family’s health expenses will be least painful. The wife of Maryland-based owner-operator, David McCombs, Holly works for Campbell Insurance Services, a broker licensed to the health exchanges in Maryland, Virginia, D.C. and West Virginia.

Currently the couple pays $1,053 per month for a plan to cover their family of four. Holly says a similar, ACA-qualified plan on the state-run exchange would be $400 more. “I’m going to keep what I have,” she says, “but I hear rumors the insurance companies will jack up grandfathered-plan rates big-time. They won’t be getting new healthy people in those plans.”

Michigan-based owner-operator Michael Wright and his wife are dealing with a few more question marks than the McCombs. After hearing the rates on his wife’s employer’s plan, which has covered their family for 25 years, could be going up 130% in 2014, he began investigating his options for ACA coverage on his home-state’s exchange. After providing information about age and place of residence, the system estimated the Wrights’ monthly premiums to range anywhere from $721-$1,634 for the “gold” level plans.

As you take on the task of sifting through your own options, here are some resources we’ve found that should help make some sense of the new law and present some options you might not be aware of:

Calculators

Overdrive magazine’s Todd Dills’ lists a couple of things to remember as you’re utilizing the estimating calculators below:

1) Your “income” figures will be based on 1040 modified adjusted gross income, estimated for 2014, not gross income.

2) The household-size and access-to-employer-based-insurance questions with calculators are all meant to take into account the entire household, not just the individual business. Owner-operators’ access to tax credits will be dependent on not only their own income but that of the entire household — if employer-based coverage is available and meets the affordability guidelines of the ACA, then credits will not be available. However, according to Ballard’s estimates, a majority, of owner-operators will likely fall into adjusted-income levels at which subsidies will be available.