Monthly Archives: October 2013

So the Obamacare Exchanges are now up and running – what do I need to know?

So what’s up with buying health insurance starting October 1 on the new Health Insurance Exchange (or “Marketplace”)? In Iowa, depending on what county (and Region) you live in, there will be up to four insurance companies to choose from (there are two in Cass County). Here are some questions that might help you figure out if the Exchange is right for you.


Question: What do I have to do starting October 1?

Answer: Nothing, if you already have health insurance through work or from an individual plan (including Senior plans). If you don’t have health insurance, then you must buy a plan or pay a tax penalty.


Question: Do I have to buy a plan on the Exchange?

Answer: No. You can buy a plan on the Exchange, or off the Exchange from any health insurance company doing business in Iowa (an independent health insurance agent can let you know what your choices are either way).


Question: So why should I buy a health plan from the Exchange?

Answer: You would only want to buy a plan on the Exchange if you are in a lower income bracket. If your estimated 2014 income is between about $12,000 and $46,000, so you may qualify for a subsidy or tax credit, to lower your monthly insurance payment.


Question: Even if I have health insurance now, can I shop for new coverage?

Answer: Yes, you can shop on or off the Exchange during an “Open Enrollment Period” starting October 1 and up to next March 31, and not be turned down or rated due to health problems.


Question: Where can I find out more information?

Answer: Contact your local independent health insurance agent, attend an upcoming State of Iowa Market Place Meeting, or call (877-955-1212 or 515-281-5705) or click the Iowa Insurance Division. There is also a fact sheet from the Governor with some helpful information for Iowans, as well as a robust website from Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa.


Robert Joseph

Independent Health Insurance Agent

Midwest Insurance Mart

Ph: 243-2483



The content provided is for information purposes only and not intended as legal advice.  The information provided is not a substitute for a consultation with a professional advisor or health plan.


Obamacare Collapse: Section 89 Déjà Vu?

Amidst all the words by pen and screen about Obamacare, few have compared President Obama’s signature health care reform legislation to the late ‘80s debacle of “Section 89,” the now-forgotten attempted addition to the IRS code included in the sweeping Tax Reform Act of 1986, which collapsed under its own weight – just before it was to take effect. Section 89 was a federal government’s attempt to require employers to provide non-discriminatory life and health insurance benefits to all employees, without regard to income. But the nightmarish rules and regulatory burden it was poised to foist onto businesses was so onerous and complex that as it neared implementation, there were 13 bills before Congress to change or eliminate it entirely.

Could this same fate befall the so-called Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare?

With many “shoes” having already dropped, and so many straws of exemption placed on the camel’s back, the possibility of Obamacare simply collapsing under the weight of its 906 pages1 and over 15,000 pages of regulations2 is not just a wish of conservatives but a real possibility.

So here are some of the dropped shoes to date:

Waivers – More than 700 organizations and 2 million Americans have been given waivers3

Delays – Companies with more than 50 employees have been given a one-year delay4 in implementation

No income verification – Individual income verification for the insurance exchange changed to the  “honor system” for now5

Missed deadlines – Over 20% (41 out of 82) deadlines for implementation have been missed 6

Insufficient funding – Some of the 18 separate tax increases7 needed to fund Obamacare are being eliminated or postponed, and some groups are finding ways to avoid them8, which – combined with an overly optimistic initial estimate, may lead to a significant shortfall9 and debt

Messy rolloutGlitch-filled initial enrollment October 110

Despite the administration’s relentless and daedal efforts to keep pitching this landmark legislation of President Obama and restructuring of the healthcare and insurance for more than 310 million Americans, there are threatening dark clouds on the horizon that may portend its demise.

Perhaps, in the event of the collapse of this “snow globing” of one-sixth of the American economy which fails in its two fundamental stated goals of reducing health care cost and covering the uninsured, the prescient one‑sentence warning from Dr. Barbara Bellar should have been heeded:

“We’re going to be gifted with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, which purportedly covers at least 10 million more people without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it, but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a president who smokes with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect by the government, which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare — all to be overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese, and financed by a country that’s broke.”