Black Friday Special: A Way to Escape Obamacare
You may still be able to get out from under the yoke of Obamacare, at least temporarily.
If you are one of the unfortunate millions, who have received a cancellation notice from your health insurance company for your individual health plan, and your insurance company still refuses to implement the "fix" President Obama announced two weeks ago whereby, "insurers can extend current plans that otherwise would be canceled into 2014 and Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan," you may still be able to avoid the brunt of Obamacare and it's mandated penalties at least through the end of 2014.
So, how can you do it?
Before I answer this question, let me warn you that it may not be in your financial best interest to do it. If you expect that your next year's income will qualify you for significant subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), then you will likely be much better of, at least financially, by buying an ACA complying plan through HealthCare.Gov or your state's exchange.
However, if you don't think you will qualify for subsidies, or have other political or personal reasons to avoid the exchanges and their Obamacare compliant policies, their may still be something that you can do, but that window of opportunity is about to close.
Unfortunately, not everyone, who had their policy canceled will be able to get in on the deal. And, no, it's not an White House Black Friday Door-buster Special, although it certainly feels like it!
For one thing, your state of residence makes all the difference in the world here. So, if your state's Insurance Commissioner forbids insurance companies writing health insurance policies in your state to continue non Obamacare compliant policies into 2014, then you are screwed. Some states like California, Virginia, Kentucky and Idaho have reportedly done just that. But don't blame the White House, this was a choice made by your state's elected representatives!
Secondly, even if you are lucky enough to live in a more progressive state like Colorado, there may still not be an insurance company that serves your specific market and continues to write new non ACA compliant health insurance policies that will not be automatically canceled on January 1, 2014. Generally, the more densly populated urban counties like Boulder and Denver in Colorado will be better served than the outlying rural counties with more wild buffaloes than people.
Just as important as your state of residence and availability of insurers in your local, is your family's health. So, if you have developed a serious health problem since you have enrolled into your just canceled non-complaint plan and can no longer qualify for a medically underwritten individual health plan, then this is not for you and Obamacare is your salvation!
However, if you do not expect significant income-based subsidies under ACA, your state allows writing of non-compliant plans, you can find an insurer to write a new policy and you are healthy enough to qualify for a medically underwritten non Obamacare compliant plan, you may want to rush out and get it before the clock strikes midnight.
If you do, keep the following very important points in mind when applying for a new non-complaint plan:
a) it must have an effective date before the end of 2013,
b) give your new insurance company at least three weeks (the more the better) from the application date to approve you,
c) do not cancel your old plan until you have been approved for a new one,
d) do not get a physical now, until you are approved for the new plan,
e) if your health condition changes between the date you fill out your application and it is approved, report the change to your new health insurer,
f) if you have a preexisting condition that you do not disclose on your application, it will not be covered by your new plan,
g) in some states, your new plan may limit your coverage for certain conditions that were covered by your old plan (even if they are not preexisting),
h) rates for your new plan are not guaranteed and may change with proper notice, as prescribed by your state's regulators.
If your state mandates coverage for free annual physicals and you have not gotten one in the last 12 months, make sure to use your old plan to get your check up, but only after your new plan is approved. And you may want to do this, even if you have to pay for it out of pocket. This way, if during your office visit, your doctor finds something wrong with you, which you didn't know about before, your new plan should still cover it. But, what if it is something so terribly wrong that it would cost you much more to take care of under your new reasonably priced high deductible non-compliant plan? Well, then you could do a pivot, scrap your cheap coverage plans and fall back on the far more expensive Obamacare plan for next year!
Also, if you don't get in on the non-compliant plan and don't mind remaining uninsured for a short while, there is no reason to hurry and sign up for Obamacare, either. You could wait until the Government is done Beta testing the Federal exchange on the early adopters (aka as guinea pigs). Then, you could sign up, once they are done working out all the kinks - there is no penalty, if you do it by the end of the open enrollment period in March.
See how Obamacare is really good thing? It's how you can have your cake and eat it too (at least for a short while)! So, while you are out shopping for all the great bargains today, why not shop for some non ACA compliant health insurance, as well? Time for this deal is running out fast - make sure to apply by Cyber Monday!
P.S. Cigna and UnitedHealthcare's (through their Golden Rule subsidiary) are two major insurance companies that are still offering plans that should take you through the end of 2014. Why "should" rather than "will?" For one thing, with a few months notice (specific notice requirements vary by state), they could just drop everyone's coverage in your state, but that has always been the case...