October 30, 2018
Clinical Contributors to this Story
By Tara Rosenberg, CHAA
Choosing an insurance plan can be tricky. If you don’t have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source, you can get coverage through New Jersey’s Marketplace. Before you start looking for a plan, there are some misconceptions about the health insurance Marketplace that could get you off track.
Common New Jersey Marketplace Misconception
- The Marketplace has been Eliminated
That Affordable Care Act (ACA) has not been repealed or replaced, but the 2019 open enrollment period is shorter. You now have six weeks to select your 2019 coverage instead of three months like in the past. Open enrollment runs from November 1, 2018 to December 15, 2018.
- The Tax Penalty no Longer Exists
For those in New Jersey, the answer is yes and no. Beginning 2019, there will be no federal tax penalty if you do not have health insurance. But there will be a state tax penalty for being uninsured in New Jersey. The state penalties will run at approximately the same rate as the old federal tax penalty. In the end, you will be taxed if you are a resident of New Jersey and do not have health insurance.
- The Marketplace is Expensive and Unaffordable
Good news for New Jersey residents – the state’s 2019 premiums will be 9.3% lower compared to 2018. In addition, you can get a tax credit that will actually help pay your premiums. One of Hackensack Meridian Health’s certified application counselors can help you determine if you quality for tax credits. Find a free counseling session near you or call 732-902-7080.
Also remember that everyone’s health insurance quote is personal to them, taking into account a person’s income, family size, age, place of residence and tobacco use.
- I Won’t Qualify for Tax Credits because of my Gross Income
It’s common for applicants to incorrectly enter their gross income. You can deduct a number of expenses from your gross income which can help you qualify for tax credit, including:
- Alimony payments
- Retirement contributions
- Student loan interest
- Tuition costs
- Educator expenses
- Moving expenses
Also there are several items that you don’t have to include in your gross income calculation:
- Child support
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veteran’s disability
- Proceeds from loans (i.e.: student loans, bank loans, home equity loans)
- No Doctors Accept Marketplace Plans
To see who accepts what plans, you can type your doctor’s name or their practice name as well as your prescriptions on HealthCare.gov. The Marketplace website will show you what plans and prescriptions each insurance covers. If your spouse has different needs, you can each purchase different plans.
- My Premium Price will Never Change
If you experience any life changing events in 2019, you can notify the Marketplace by calling or updating it in the system 60 days prior to or after the event. Your premium can actually be lowered if your income decreases, family size increases, experience death, and, sometimes, if you move.
Hackensack Meridian Health is holding open enrollment sessions for the 2019 Marketplace. If you have questions or need assistance selecting an insurance plan, register for an appointment with a Certified Application Counselor by calling 732-902-7080. Click here for dates and times in Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean Counties.
Tara Rosenberg, CHAA is a financial assistance navigator at Hackensack Meridian Health.