Clients and friends,
Effective January 1, 2014, with the implementation of health care reform (Obamacare), the way Americans purchase individual health insurance will be transformed. This is not an exaggeration and might qualify as an understatement. On January 1, an insurance company will no longer be able to decline an applicant based on a pre-existing condition. There will be a new web-based marketplace run by the State of Oregon called a ‘Health Insurance Exchange’. Oregon will call it “Cover Oregon”. If people buy their insurance through this health insurance exchange, and they are below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (just over $92,000 for a family of four), they will be eligible for a federal premium subsidy. The way insurance companies calculate individual premiums will also change. It will tend to cause large premium increases for low risk individuals, particularly young people. Certain “essential benefits” will be mandated to be in your policy. The bad news is that unless you qualify for a federal premium subsidy, the cost of your health insurance will continue to go up as fast or faster than it has in the past.
You will need to prepare for this change. There will mind numbing and complex choice of plans. You may want to make changes, but you will have a limited time to do it. We can help you in the enrollment process. When you re-enroll you will need to designate us as your agent/producer in order for us to continue to serve you. Laura and I will be going through about 10 hours of training to become a ‘certified’ agent for Cover Oregon. As always, feel free to call the office with your questions or concerns. We especially want to hear from you if you have had a claim problem. We know a lot more about what will be happening than we did three months ago. We will know a lot more in three more months. Things are changing constantly. Cover Oregon plans to be ready to start enrolling people starting October 1, 2013 for January 1 effective dates. This is a brand new system and there are going to be some bumps along the way. It will add another layer (or three!) of complexity. We will continue to be here for our clients.
Todd and Laura
Yorke Benefit Services