What is the Public Health Insurance Marketplace?

You’re going to be hearing a lot about the government’s “health insurance marketplace” in the next couple months. So what’s the deal?
As part of the Affordable Care Act (often referred to as “Obamacare”), the government is setting up a “health insurance marketplace” for consumers to shop for health insurance. Some states will have their own state-run marketplace, but in states that opted not to set one up, the federal government will establish and run its own exchange. Most states, including South Carolina and Georgia, opted not to get involved.
A lot still remains to be seen about what this will look like and how it will function. But it is certain to be a web-based exchange of sorts where consumers will be able to view plans and compare options and prices. (You know, kind of like this.)
So what’s different about the government marketplace when compared with any number of similar services that exist already (like ours)? One word:
Most people know that the law will require people to purchase individual health insurance, and that those policies meet certain mandated standards. Those standards will drive the price pretty high. Depending on your income, however, you may be eligible for a subsidy to help pay the premium.
That subside is available on a sliding scale based on income for those making less than 400% of the federal poverty limit. The less you make, the greater the subsidy.
To get the subsidy, you’ll have to purchase a policy through the government’s health insurance marketplace. I hasten to add that AC Forrest Insurance plans to be certified to help our clients on the public marketplace. The open enrollment period for these subsidized plans begins October 1.
If you don’t meet the income requirements, and hence don’t qualify for a subsidy, then there’s really no reason to bother with that government marketplace. There will be more carriers selling individual health insurance policies off the public exchange (i.e. through private exchanges like ours), which will make for more variety, options, and choices available.
So whether you purchase through the government health insurance marketplace or not, we will be ready and able to assist you. Stay tuned – this thing could get a bit crazy over the next few months, but we’ve got you covered!