The mandates in Obamacare require most Americans to buy health insurance for 2014 or pay a “Shared Responsibility Payment” penalty. In order to help make premiums more “affordable” to those in the lower income levels, federal tax-credit advances will be paid directly to insurance companies on behalf of American’s who qualify for them.
Those “subsidies” are great for those who qualify for them. Unfortunately, there are two problems with them.
The first problem is that they are subject to qualification based on household income only. No consideration is being made by the U.S. government for your existing bills. According to the government, as long as the net cost to you for health insurance premiums is less than 9.5% of your household income, regardless of your debt, those premiums are “affordable.”
I cannot speak for anyone else but for people who live from paycheck to paycheck, an additional bill for 9.5% of their “take-home” pay is a humongous new expense to have to absorb. It is hardly “affordable'”
The second problem is that in order to qualify for those federal “subsidies” an individual, in Texas, must navigate through an unreliable government website.
Some insurance companies have set up, what are being called, “by-passes.” Those by-passes allow people to skip over some parts of that federal site (for those who live in states that did not build their own exchange) but applicants are still required to enter some information on that federal website.
One of the screens you will be asked to complete is pictured above. That screen allows you to choose an insurance agent to help you with future issues you may have with your application.
If you live in Texas, please enter my information (as found in red on the graphic) so I can help you sort out any problems you may have in the future. There have been thousands of reports of files being corrupted or people not knowing what their next step is after they finish with the federal website.
If you enter my information on that page, and send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I can monitor your enrollment and catch many of the problems while they can still be corrected.
The ideal is that you do not need to claim a subsidy to help pay your health insurance premium. If that is the case, you can apply for approved health insurance from any of the insurance companies on the left side of this blog. All you need to do is click on the graphic of the insurance company you want to use and you will be directed to their direct enrollment website.
If you do this, you do not have to even deal with that unreliable federal website.
Direct enrollment does not waive any rights to tax credits that you might be eligible for. It just means that you can escape the government’s digital “red tape” for tax-credit advances. If your income, in 2014, qualifies you for a tax credit, you will be able to claim it when you file your tax return in 2015.
I completely understand that many Americans will need all the help they can get to pay higher health insurance premiums. Unfortunately, they only options that Texans have for federal subsidies is to jump through the hoops that are present in WWW.HEALTHCARE.GOV.
If that is what you must do, in order to stay compliant with the law, that is what you must do. Just remember that under current rules, which may be changed by the White House, you only have until March 31 in which to enroll.
If you already know that you will not qualify for a federal “subsidy” or what you will get is an extremely insignificant amount of help, I encourage you to consider buying your compliant health insurance directly from an insurance company and staying away from that federal website.