Contributed by John E. Rice, CFA, CFP® I wrote about health insurance in last month’s blog post and wanted to give an update now that Obamacare has started. Obamacare is the nickname for the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that is designed to provide reasonably priced health insurance for all Americans, whether or not they have pre-existing conditions. In last month’s blog post I made the comment that this law may be ideal for Canadians that want to come to the US but have not done so because they cannot get health coverage that covers them fully.
You may have heard that people are having a hard time accessing the main website for Obamacare, www.healthcare.gov. I tried to access this website twice this week and can get onto the main page but then when I link to Florida it stalls.
But it is important to know that many people should be bypassing this website and going directly to the exchanges to tap into policies from major insurance companies that are “guaranteed issue” available January 1, 2014. The policies available through the www.healthcare.gov website are for people that will get a government subsidy for their health insurance because of low income.
“Guaranteed Issue” is an insurance term that means simply that if you apply for and pay for the insurance it will be issued. There is really no need for a medical exam because you will be covered. And importantly, you will be covered with all “pre-existing conditions” the same way you are covered for all pre-existing conditions under Medicare in the US after age 65 and provincial health care insurance in Canada during your entire lives while living in Canada.
Now to the “affordability” part of the Affordable Health Care Act. This week we did a review for a Florida married couple in their mid-60s. The couple had been experiencing difficulty obtaining coverage that did not exclude their pre-existing conditions. We found that this couple can now obtain full major medical coverage for approximately $1,600 per month.
As you can see these plans are not cheap. The husband said to me that the law should be renamed the “Unaffordable Health Care Act”. But they now have access to plans from the largest medical providers that are guaranteed issue with no medical underwriting that cover any and all ailments. These plans are open for enrollment now and can start as early as January 1, 2014.
While this plan is expensive, they will only need it for a few years until they are able to get onto Medicare. Because they have earned some income in the US, their Medicare will be partially subsidized, further reducing their health care costs.
If you have been thinking about moving to the US, but have not done so because of difficulty obtaining health insurance, new opportunities are available to you. A significant hurdle to your preferred lifestyle in the Sunbelt has just been removed! Let us know if you would like us to take a fresh look at your health care options.