ElderLaw News — The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. — MD, VA, DC
ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Affordable Care Act and Health Marketplaces

To implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health exchanges or marketplaces will begin in October.

Coverage will start as of January 1, 2014. As of that date, most people will be required to opt for some type of healthcare coverage, either through their employer or through the exchanges, or pay a tax. The exchanges will be accessed online. Which state you live in will determine whether the exchange is 1) state run, 2) federally run, or 3) a partnership between the state and federal governments. However, no matter what the organizational arrangement, all the states will offer 4 levels of coverage: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Also, all plans will include a basic package of 10 benefits which will include such things as hospitalization, prescription drugs, rehab care, etc. These plans will closely resemble plans that some employers offer, especially the larger ones. Virginia’s exchange will be a federal one, along with 24 other states. This means that every private health insurance plan available in that state will be available in the state exchange.

While the ACA has been controversial, those who have previously not been able to afford coverage may be able to do so now, at a greatly reduced rate. Premiums under the new law will be figured on a percentage of income. Singles with income up to $45,960 and couples with income of up to $62, 040 in 2013 may qualify for tax credits. The income limit for 2014 has not yet been determined. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that 7 million people will be covered in 2014, and that by 2016, the number will increase to 24 million. If an individual chooses not to purchase insurance in 2014, a tax of $95 or up to 1% of income, whichever is greater, will be levied. However, in 2016, the tax will be $695 or 2.5% of income.

The exchanges also will be a boon to those in the 50-64 age bracket, those who sometimes have difficulty obtaining insurance, especially, if there are pre-existing conditions, according to Sarah Dash of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. Online services will give consumers the ability to determine whether they are eligible for Medicaid or for a tax credit to help defray the cost of their premiums. Those not covered by the exchanges will be those who are already covered by Medicare. The great advantage of the system is that health insurance will no longer be tied to employment, so if you lose your job or want to change jobs, you can do so without worrying how you will be covered for health insurance.

For those who may not have the most terrific computer skills, have no fear. A toll-free hotline and real people will be available to answer questions. Also, there will be a website at healthcare.gov/marketplace which will provide additional information. The government appears to be making great efforts in trying to make the new arrangement as user-friendly as a new program can be.

(Source = Marsha Mercer, “Coming Soon: Health Marketplaces,” AARP Bulletin, April 2013, p. 14)


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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

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