Covered California is CA’s Health Insurance Exchange

Kelley-Jensen2Author: Kelley Filice Jensen

An exchange, also known as Affordable Insurance Exchange, is a State-based, supervised, competitive market place where individuals and small businesses can purchase affordable health insurance. States can design an exchange catered towards its citizens. In addition, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides further details and guidance on the purpose, scope, and operation of each exchange. Think of an exchange as similar to the NASDAQ or The New York Stock Exchange.

California’s exchange is called Covered California.  California was the first state in the country to enact the legislation under the Affordable Care Act, and Covered California is considered the model for other states that have not implemented their exchanges.  Click here for other things to know about health care reform this year.

 

What is the most important thing to know about Covered CA and other state exchanges?

The most important thing to know about Covered CA is that it health insurance plans sold through the exchange are the only ones that provide tax credits and cost sharing subsidies provided by the government.

So does Covered CA offer an insurance plan?

No.  All of the plans are offered by private insurance carriers.

I can by a private plan and get subsidy?

Yes.  You can only buy a private plan, unless you qualify for Medicaid, Medical or Medicare.

Can I use an agent or broker to help explain everything to me?

Yes.

Will I still get subsidy if I buy through an agent?

Yes.  Agents can sell for the exchanges, including Covered CA.

Will there be a price difference for me?

No.  By law, consumers cannot be charged more for buying inside the exchange or outside the exchange.

So how does the agent get paid?

Agents are compensated by insurance carriers, their services are free to consumers.

So will it be better to use the services of an agent or go directly to the exchange?

It depends on your knowledge of health insurance, and how much help or advice you would like.  Agents have the most experience with insurance carriers, health insurance plans and health insurance terminology.  All agents selling plans inside the exchange (those that qualify for subsidy) are qualified to assist in the paperwork necessary to obtain subsidy.

 

 

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