Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

December 30, 2013

Tips for Mich. consumers buying health insurance

Need health insurance? Here are some tips:

n Michigan’s insurance marketplace is run by the federal government at www.healthcare.gov . The best times to visit are mornings, nights and weekends. The middle of the day is the busiest time for the website.

n Last week was the deadline for coverage by Jan. 1. Enrollment continues through March 31. Miss that deadline and pay a penalty of $95 or 1 percent of your income in year one, whichever is higher.

n Federal tax credits will help make premiums more affordable for households earning between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line. That’s about $11,500 to $46,000 for an individual, roughly $23,500 to $94,000 for a family of four.

n If your household income is less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level (about $59,000 for a family of four), you also may qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs when you buy a silver plan on the marketplace.

n Assess the provider network available. Do doctors and hospitals match what you have today? Cheaper plans typically have more limited networks.

n Having trouble picking plan? You have four options: Contact the call center at 1-800-318-2596, make an appointment with an in-person assister at https://localhelp.healthcare.gov , call the insurance company directly if you know which one you want to work with, or call an insurance agent or broker.

— Low-income adults making up to 133 percent of the poverty level can qualify for Medicaid around April 1. You can sign up at www.healthcare.gov , go to https://www.mibridges.michigan.gov/access , call 855-275-6424 or visit a local Department of Human Services office. Enrollment can’t begin, however, until Michigan’s Medicaid expansion plan is officially approved by the Obama administration.

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