-Is all health insurance now called “ObamaCare”?
-Can I get my own health insurance through a private insurer?
-Do I have to buy insurance under ObamaCare?
-Do the ObamaCare exchanges offer the cheapest insurance plans?
If you are asking any of these questions you are probably self employed, don’t have insurance at all, or don’t want to mess with going through any one of the new exchanges. You might also be someone who does not trust the government or has political beliefs that clash with ObamaCare.
The fact is, you don’t HAVE to get health insurance through either the federal health exchange or any one of the state exchanges. It is NOT the law that you have to buy health insurance through an ObamaCare exchange. The only law you need to be concerned about is that everyone now has to have insurance and it has to be a health plan that qualifies under the Affordable Care Act.
These are the reasons you should shop for insurance in places OTHER than one of the new insurance exchanges:
1) If you make more than 400% of the poverty level, you will NOT be able to get any subsidy back from the government for ObamaCare. That means there is no advantage to you of going through an exchange if you can find a better price elsewhere. It makes sense to shop around and see if you can find cheaper coverage (for instance you might be able to find a plan with a lower deductible) with another carrier before you plop down your money for an exchange plan. Check prices of plans from multiple insurers to see if any of them are cheaper than what is offered on your exchange. It never hurts to try.
2) Not all insurance companies are “participating” in the ObamaCare exchanges. There are many that have opted out and you might be able to find cheaper plans with them OR you might find better coverage for the same price with them. Again, it pays to explore your options and you might be able to find something better with a private insurer.
3) Less fear of government intrusion with your own non ObamaCare plan. When you shop for and sign up for any plan on a health exchange, you will need to supply a lot of personal information that you may not feel comfortable giving out. Your income is one that might make you cringe as that will be needed to supply the IRS with the information they need to determine if you are eligible for any rebate. If you already know you make too much to get any tax break, you might be looking to avoid all the hassles that will come with getting insurance through your exchange.
4) Possible identity theft from exchange Navigators who have been improperly trained and have not had to go through any background checks. The new health marketplaces, both the federal exchange and every state exchange, will rely on Navigators to guide people through the health plan selection process. The problem is that the hiring of these Navigators is way behind schedule and there is no central place for the hiring or rules for them to follow. It is total chaos as government grants have gone to hundreds of different organizations across the country to get the job done on their own.
Who you will get as your Navigator if you call an exchange is a total unknown as is their qualifications, experience, and health care knowledge. There is great fear that the Navigator system is becoming a dream come true for ID thieves who may be able to get that type of job and then have access to your social security number, income, and other sensitive personal data.