State Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and officials with the Illinois health insurance marketplace held a free informational event Thursday evening about the Affordable Care Act and how it will impact families, seniors and individuals. The guest speaker, who was very knowledgeable about the topic, was Giovanni Gomez who grew up in the Round Lake area. Those in attendance were treated to about an hour long presentation and then had the opportunity to ask questions about the Illinois marketplace (exchange). Senator Bush spoke briefly at the beginning explaining that the meeting was not to discuss individual opinions about the new health care law but to explain what it is, what it covers, and how to sign up.
Gomez talked about many of the features including such things as the ABE which stands for Application Benefit Eligibility and also the FPL which is the Federal Poverty Level. He explained that the Silver healthcare plans are considered the “benchmark” in comparison to other plans. He stated that over 7.1 million viewers had already visited the marketplace site with over a million filling out applications and/or enrolled. Gomez said that the average wait time on the site is currently about twenty minutes and they are working to improve on that. For those already on Medicare and looking for rates for Medicare supplemntal insurance, you will NOT find those quotes on the Federal or State marketplace sites.
Someone from the audience asked if the income for the tax credit was going to be based on their 2013 tax filing, which would be hard for an independent contractor to establish, and was told that it would be based on 2014 taxes going forward. If a person or family qualifies for a tax credit there are two ways it can be taken. One is for a lump credit at the end of the year and the other is with a monthly credit as you pay for your health insurance policy. For those on a fixed salary, for example, they might opt for taking the monthly tax credit. Gomez stressed that you can ONLY get the tax credit if you buy through the “marketplace” or from an agent who is part of the ACA marketplace. Otherwise, you will not receive it when you file your taxes. Make a note of that!