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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

For Workers Leaving Their Jobs, Health Exchanges Offer Insurance Choices Beyond COBRA

The Affordable Care Act will impact all areas of the delivery of medicine in the workplace.Today's post was shared by Kaiser Health News and comes from www.kaiserhealthnews.org


Workers who lose their jobs and their employer-based health insurance will have new coverage options when the Affordable Care Act's state marketplaces open in October. But consumer advocates are concerned many may not realize this and lock themselves into pricier coverage than they need.

Today, the only option for many laid-off workers is to continue their employer-provided coverage for up to 18 months under the federal law known as COBRA. Because they have to pay the entire premium plus a 2 percent administrative fee, however, the coverage can be a financial hardship for people who are scrambling to keep up with expenses after losing their jobs.

Many of these people will likely be better off buying a plan on the state health insurance marketplaces, also called exchanges. Plans sold there must cover a comprehensive set of 10 "essential health benefits," and consumers can choose among four plan types with different levels of cost-sharing. Premium tax credits will be available to people with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($11,490 to $45,960 for an individual in 2013), often making exchange coverage significantly more affordable than COBRA.

"COBRA was a transitional type of coverage while you're between jobs, but now we have a subsidized form of coverage available, exchange plans with subsidies," says Edwin Park, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
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