The Health Insurance Marketplace is sometimes known as the health insurance “Exchange.” It is a state’s price comparison website for subsidized health insurance.

 

Each state has its own Marketplace. In Minnesota, you can access yours at MNsure.org

 

The Exchange gives consumers the opportunity to compare prices and plans before applying. You can get quotes immediately and compare plans side by side.

 

To view plans before applying visit:

 

  • Individuals and Families: Visit MNSure.org
  • Small Businesses:

 

To enroll in the plan of your preference:

 

  • Step One: Create your account.
  • Step Two: Answer a short list of questions to see if you qualify for a free or low cost plan.
  • Step Three: Choose a plan.
  • Step Four: Sign up and pay for your first month’s premium.

 

Health Insurance plans are divided in metallic tiers:

 

The official ObamaCare enrollment period ended on March 31, 2014. Important Notice: Its urgent, to avoid future fines and penalties, to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Health Care Act.

 

Minnesota Individuals & Families: Find out the most cost efficient healthcare insurance for you.

 

 

Bronze Plans

 

The lowest cost plan available. It has the lowest premiums and the lowest actuarial value. The actuarial value of a bronze plan is 60%. This means that 60% of medical costs are paid for by the insurance company, leaving the other 40% to be paid by you.

 

Silver Plans

 

The second lowest cost plan. It has an actuarial value of 70%. This means that 70% of medical costs are paid for by the insurance company, leaving the other 30% to be paid by you.

 

Gold Plans

 

The second most expensive plan. It has an actuarial value of 80%. This means that 80% of medical costs are paid for by the insurance company, leaving the other 20% to be paid by you.

 

Platinum Plans

 

The plan with the highest premiums. The Platinum plan as an actuarial value of 90%. This means that 90% of medical costs are paid for by the insurance company, leaving the other 10% to be paid by you.

 

Catastrophic Plans

 

These are plans for people under 30. They usually have high deductibles, essential benefits and low premiums.

 

Dental Plans

 

The Marketplace in Minnesota also offers dental plans for children and families.

 

There is an extensive list of provider networks that offer health insurance plans, but they are subject to change. You should contact your insurer directly.

 

You can check provider networks for individuals and families at the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange.

 

What if I can’t afford it?

 

You may qualify for MA or MinnesotaCare, or for a tax credit and payment assistance to lower your cost.

 

Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare

 

Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare are health care programs for low-income residents (children and parents, adults without children, people with disabilities and seniors) who fall within the Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP).

 

If you qualify for MA or MinnesotaCare, you will be able to get medical services at little cost to you.

 

Medical Assistance does not have a premium (monthly fee). Members do have small co-pays for some services, usually $1 – $3. This is called cost sharing.

 

MinnesotaCare does have a premium (monthly fee), based on your income, and small co-pays.

 

  • Individuals with annual incomes of up to $15,282 qualify for MA
  • All children and pregnant women up to 275 % of the federal poverty level are eligible for MA
  • Individuals with annual incomes of $15,282 to $22,980 qualify for MinnesotaCare.

 

You can find more information about cost sharing and what MHCP covers by visiting MNSure.org

 

Tax Credits

 

Individuals with annual incomes of $22,981 to $45,960 qualify for tax credits that can be used immediately to lower your premiums.

 

The amount of tax credit available to individuals and families depends on modified adjusted gross income, age and geographic area. * For most taxpayers, the household Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) is the same as Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) which can be found on Line 4 on a Form 1040EZ, Line 21 on a Form 1040A, or Line 37 on a Form 1040.

 

Premium assistance is calculated based on where an individual’s annual income falls on the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) table.

 

If you qualify for the tax credit, you can choose:

 

  • In advance to reduce your health care plan costs each month (You can begin receiving the tax credit when your coverage becomes effective).
  • Apply for it when you file your federal tax return.

 

Cost-sharing

 

You may also qualify for extra savings through cost-sharing assistance. This help reduces the amount you pay of put-of-pocket costs.

 

The federal government provides this assistance usually to:

 

  • Individuals earning up to $28,725
  • Families of 4 earning up to $58,875

 

The Tax Penalty

 

If someone can afford health insurance and decides not to have coverage in 2014, they may have to pay a fee also known as Tax Penalty. The penalty can be any of the options explained below (whichever is higher):

 

  • 1% of your yearly household income.
  • $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18).

 

*This fee increases every year.

 

*If you’re uninsured for less than 3 months, you don’t have a make a payment.

 

To avoid the fee you need insurance that qualifies as Minimum Essential Coverage.

 

You’re considered covered and don’t have to pay a penalty if you have any of the following:

 

  • A Marketplace plan.
  • An individual insurance plan.
  • Any employer plan with or without “grandfathered” status.
  • Medicare.
  • Medicaid.
  • The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  • TRICARE.
  • Veteran health care programs.
  • Peace Corps Volunteer plans.

 

Exemptions

 

Some people are exempted from the fee.

 

These include:

 

  • Individuals and families below a certain income
  • People who cannot afford the coverage that is available
  • Individuals who have been uninsured for less than three months
  • Members of American Indian tribes
  • People who do not obtain coverage because of religious objection

 

To apply for an exemption, you have two options:

 

  • through MNsure via an interface with the federal system (once it is available)
  • through the IRS when you file your 2014 taxes

 

Where can I find help?

 

You can call 1-855-366-7873 (1-855-3MNSURE) if you have any questions.

 

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