Obamacare – Edition 6

This is the sixth time I have written on this topic since December 2012. There have been a couple newsworthy events since my last article on this topic in September. The Iowa Stopgap Measure was pulled from consideration. This left Iowans with only one company selling individual health insurance plans. Additionally, the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included a provision to eliminate the health insurance mandate. If you choose not to purchase insurance, you will no longer be charged a penalty.

We recently completed a very challenging open enrollment period. I have said many times that Obamacare has been really good for some and really bad for others. Medica is the only company offering individual plans in Iowa. If your adjusted gross income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, an affordable subsidized plan with reasonable deductibles is available. If your income is above the 400 percent threshold, the premium is outrageous. Example: The 400 percent federal poverty level for a couple is $64,960 and a family of four is $98,400.

Our time was split between assisting those who were eligible for a subsidy to enroll in Obamacare and finding alternatives for those not eligible for a subsidized Obamacare plan. Those alternatives include small group plans, short-term plans and health share ministry plans. You would be surprised at the minimal qualifications required to be considered a small group. We are able to assist in creating LLCs and starting payroll to become eligible. You do not have to have any other employees besides yourself. Short-term plans, designed to bridge a gap between coverage, can be a useful alternative in certain scenarios. These plans are typically 90 days but can be purchased in succession to extend the coverage. A third alternative is a Health Share Ministry such as Medical-Share, Altrua or Samaritan. This in not traditional insurance, but an organization that facilitates sharing of health care costs among individual members who have common ethical or religious beliefs.

I chose to write on this topic one more time hoping that we may reach someone who is paying the full price for Medica and doesn’t realize there are alternatives to this ridiculousness. We have multiple examples when we were able to save couples and families between $12,000 and $25,000. The majority of the public and readers of this article have health insurance provided as a benefit from their employer, but it is likely you have family and/or friends who don’t realize there are alternatives to paying the full-price Medica premium. It is not too late to explore the alternatives. I encourage you to share this information with anyone you feel is impacted by extremely high health insurance premiums. They can call our office at 515-462-4553 to set an appointment for a free, no obligation consultation.

— Eric Johnson, Johnson Insurance

Published in Winterset Living, January 2018