Health care reform in Indiana is underway. The “Affordable Care Act,” also known as “Obamacare” is helping many Hoosier consumers with their medical insurance benefits. But the legislation remains very controversial, and is being reviewed by the Supreme Court. It is possible that the entire Bill (or parts of the Bill) will be invalidated and overturned. Or, the Supreme Court may decide to keep the legislation intact.
One of the key components of the legislation (and one of our favorites) is the removal of waiting periods and deductibles from approved preventive services. Along with annual physicals, well checks and mammograms, other covered benefits include adult blood pressure and cholesterol screening, depression and Type 2 diabetes screening, immunizations, and many other items. No matter what happens, this portion should remain.
Other changes already implemented include the elimination of lifetime caps on paid covered benefits, creation of “state high risk pools” and eliminating the practice of rescinding policies. And children can now stay on their parent's policy until age 26 (subject to certain restrictions).
These "risk pools" are a helpful alternative for applicants that have been declined for coverage multiple times. Typically, regardless of health, if you have not had active benefits for at least six months, there is a good chance you will be accepted. And rates are fairly competitive.
However, Obamacare has not reduced rates and it is widely expected that costs will substantially go up when the full implementation takes place (although tax credits may reduce the premium for selected consumers). The Indiana Health Exchange, if and when created, is expected to become an option for residents to buy their medical benefits. These purchases would be made online (in 2014).
But without the assistance of experienced licensed professionals, consumers may have to fend for and navigate themselves on an impersonal website. In fairness, many details have yet to be worked out, so we’ll keep you informed of any update or change that affects your personal health care.
It is our hope that brokers will play a vital role in helping consumers with the "Exchange." Plan details and tax credits will just be two examples that will need a professional's help. Inexperienced temporary employees will not be the answer.
Although there are a few government websites that offer medical coverage information, the vast majority of residents we talk to prefer to work with experienced licensed brokers that are unbiased and work with Indiana medical plans on a regular basis. And yes…that’s us!
Our website will continue to provide consumers with current rates from the major insurance companies in the state, which include Anthem Blue Cross, Medical Mutual, UnitedHealthcare, Celtic and Assurant. Until recently, Cigna and Aetna offered competitive plan options, but both carriers have ceased writing individual business in the state. It's always possible that additional companies might follow.
Please feel free to check this page on a regular basis for updates to Indiana health reform issues. The "Affordable Care Act" may be changing.
12-19-2011 UPDATE- We finally have a date! March 26-28 is when the Supreme Court will meet and listen to testimony regarding the legality of Obamacare. So far, 26 states have joined together in an effort to overturn part or all of the legislation. An official determination will probably be made by the Court in June.
04-15-2012 2012 UPDATE- The Supreme Court ruling on the federal mandate requiring consumers to purchase health insurance is being discussed and determined. A decision should be announced within 45 days.
05-06-2012 UPDATE- Still no news, but the decision is getting closer!
10-25-2012 UPDATE- The mandate was upheld so the government can (and will) impose a tax on any person that does not buy qualified health insurance starting in 2014. We don't expect this to change regardless of which candidate wins the election in less than two weeks.