It used to be that most employees would expect to have some type of health insurance coverage benefit from their employers. Their choices would be limited, but the monthly premiums would either be fully paid by their company or at least largely subsidized by their employers.
Times have changed. Since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare as it’s commonly known, the health insurance landscape has changed dramatically.
Today, with the rise of workers leaving the corporate world and striking out on their own either as small business owners themselves or as independent contractors, many who never had to shop for health insurance plans in the past have been faced with an often bewildering maze of health insurance options and stipulations.
Shopping for Health Insurance from the Marketplace
A fair question to ask at this point would be, “What is the Marketplace?”
Officially, according to the website at HealthCare.gov,
“A service that helps people shop for and enroll in health insurance. The federal government operates the Health Insurance Marketplace®, available at HealthCare.gov, for most states. Some states run their own Marketplaces.”
California is one of those states with its own Marketplace, known as Covered California. The HealthCare.gov description goes on to point out that,
“The Health Insurance Marketplace® (also known as the “Marketplace” or “exchange”) provides health plan shopping and enrollment services through websites, call centers, and in-person help. Small businesses can use the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace to provide health insurance for their employees.”
For those looking to shop at California’s health exchange, you must first qualify for assistance on a government health insurance plan. This financial assistance has been provided through the legislation of the ACA. Applicants should know that the Covered California income limits require consumers to have a household income that ranges from 0 percent to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in order to qualify for assistance
For example, one Covered California insurance resource states that,
“According to Covered California income guidelines and salary restrictions, if an individual makes less than $47,520 per year or if a family of four earns wages less than $97,200 per year, then they qualify for government assistance based on their income.”
Essentially, most anyone who earns 138 percent or less than the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) will qualify for Medi-Cal. All those who earn between 138 percent and 400 percent of the FPL can qualify for a subsidy on a Covered California plan.
A good question to ask at this point then is “How to get health insurance on California’s healthcare marketplace?”
California Health Insurance and the Marketplace
There are many aspects of coverage that should be considered when comparing available plans that are available through Covered California.
In addition to simply looking for affordable health insurance, you may need to look for dental insurance, vision insurance, and prescription drug coverage, Also, another way to help keep your California health insurance affordable is to look for ways to reduce medical costs.
While you cannot really control when you get sick or injured, there are a few steps you can take to help lower or reduce medical costs. These include:
- Determining if you’re eligible for the tax credit subsidy for a plan through Covered California
- Choosing an HMO plan as opposed to a PPO plan, for instance
- Choosing a plan with a high deductible
- Choosing a plan that pairs with a health savings account, or HSA
Another way to help reduce your overall health coverage costs is to make use of expert assistance when shopping for and choosing a health insurance plan through the Marketplace, or Covered California.
J.C. Lewis is also available to help once you are enrolled in a Covered California plan. If you would like to have assistance with reporting income, enrolling, plan changes, or even uploading proof documentation, you can delegate one of our licensed agents as your representative if you want.
How to get health insurance without a job
According to the Covered California website,
“People who are unemployed may be able to get a health plan through Covered California that includes savings based on your household size and income. You or your family members could also qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medi-Cal.”
Are You Looking to the Marketplace for Health Insurance? J.C. Lewis Insurance Can Help!
J.C. Lewis Insurance is a local, family-owned firm that has been based in Sonoma County since 1979. From the time of our founding as an agency, our team of expert brokers has offered individual and family health insurance plans. In addition, we have worked to provide small business owners with health insurance plans from only the leading health insurance carriers that are licensed to do business in California.
As experienced, professional, and local insurance brokers, J.C. Lewis Insurance Services is licensed and certified by each of these insurance carriers to offer coverage to individuals, families, and small group employers. Along with health insurance coverage, we also offer Medicare supplement insurance and prescription drug plans for Sonoma County area seniors.
Whether you’re shopping the Marketplace for vision, dental, or health insurance for you and your family, or for your employees, you probably have several questions and concerns.
At J.C. Lewis Insurance Services, we welcome your questions about insurance coverage, and you can be confident that we will help you find the right solution.
J.C. Lewis – the right choice for helping you make the right decision for your health coverage needs.