Even Insurance Companies are Working to Understand the ACA - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Even Insurance Companies are Working to Understand the ACA

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When it comes to health coverage, the bottom line is everyone must have it.  Understanding it is another thing altogether.

At this point, Blue Cross/Blue Shield says most employers have chosen to be "grandfathered."  That means they're keeping coverage that existed prior to the new law, which exempts them from having to add benefits required by the Affordable Care Act.

For individuals, if you're offered affordable coverage through your employer, you're not eligible for a subsidy.  Insurance is not affordable if it exceeds nine and a half percent of an employee's household income.  And if you're a smoker, now is probably the time to quit.

"With our individual insurance products that will be offered through the marketplaces, tobacco users will be charged an additional 20 percent more than non-tobacco users," says Mike Potts, Director, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Employer Consulting & Wellness.

Even for insurance companies, understanding all this is a process.  "We're still trying to evaluate and understand what the changes are going to mean, and so we're committed to getting the word out as soon as we know what's going to happen as a result of the President's announcement last week," says Potts.

That announcement by the President allows companies to renew plans cancelled as of October 1st through the end of the year.  Today, North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm asked health insurance companies to renew policies cancelled due to changes being made to comply with the Affordable Care Act.  While Hamm says the President's administrative "fix" is not a real or long-term solution, it may provide a measure of temporary relief to some North Dakotans that have been negatively impacted.

Earlier this month, the Insurance Department reported that almost 36,000 North Dakotans are or will be losing their existing health insurance policies.  Consumers whose health insurance policies have been or will be cancelled should contact their insurance company.

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