Individual Health Insurance Mandate Changes

In Robert Pear’s New York Times article, “Another Rule in Health Law Is Scaled Back,” he tells Americans that even more people will be exempt from penalties for not buying health insurance.  The secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius, just announced this big shift that was put into place by President Obama.  He has been working to tweak the Affordable Care Act, which has drawn a lot of scrutiny because of Americans receiving cancellation notices from their health insurers.  Changes to the minimum health insurance requirements have forced insurance companies to send cancellation notices to a lot of people.  In most cases, they are offered a new plan that includes more benefits to match the minimum standards.  But the cost of those plans is much higher as well, a cost that some Americans say they simply can’t afford.

The White House announcement says that those people who have had their current individual health insurance plans cancelled will have a new option.  They can enroll in a catastrophic coverage plan if they are eligible for a hardship exemption because more people will now be eligible.  This way they will not receive a penalty in 2014 for not carrying health insurance.  Catastrophic insurance plans can be bought through the government health insurance exchanges.  They were available before this change, but only to people under 30 or those who qualified for a hardship exemption.  They provide the most basic of health insurance coverage.  The White House says that any consumer who thinks that the health insurance options available in the exchanges are more expensive than their cancelled health insurance policy is eligible to get only catastrophic coverage.  Many insurers are surprised by this change and believe that it takes away from the individual mandate imposed by the Affordable Care Act.  If you are looking for a new health insurance plan, compare health quotes to see if you can find affordable coverage.

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