Affordable Care Act Resources

Affordable Care Act Resources

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by Don Ingwerson

March 31st is just around the corner and for anyone who still has questions about the Affordable Care Act, I thought these resource links posted by the Federal Committee on Publication office may be helpful:

The christianscience.com website

Third-party websites

If you review the above resources and still have questions…

Frequently Asked Questions About California’s Health Insurance Marketplace

Frequently Asked Questions About California's Health Insurance Marketplace

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by Don Ingwerson

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has led to the creation of state health insurance marketplaces. California’s marketplace is called Covered California and is designed to be an easy way for someone shopping for health insurance to compare benefits and costs. Covered California has a webpage with frequently asked questions about this marketplace, including when insurance is available, what type of insurance is available, what the insurance will cover, assistance programs to help defray the cost of insurance, to name just a few. Click on this link to find answers to your questions about Covered California: Frequently Asked Questions

ACA Penalty Does Not Kick in Until March 31, 2014

ACA Penalty Does Not Kick in Until March 31, 2014

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This new information from the Federal Office was just posted January 14, 2014 and I thought it would be helpful to pass it along to my readers here in Southern California. As noted previously, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this year (2014) virtually all Americans will need to either have a medical health insurance plan that meets federal requirements, or pay a tax penalty. (Those who are enrolled in Medicare Part A or another government health plan will be treated as complying with the law; those enrolled in an employer-sponsored health plan should check with their employer to confirm whether the plan is ACA-compliant.)

Individuals who do not obtain the required health insurance may be subject to a penalty. Note that if an individual enrolls in a qualifying plan by March 31, s/he will not have to pay the penalty.

How does this timing relate to the ongoing efforts of the U.S. Federal Office to find a resolution for Christian Scientists under the law? 

The March 31 deadline provides Congress with an extended window to finalize a legislative solution in Congress that would enable those with sincerely held religious beliefs against purchasing the required medical insurance to apply for a 2014 exemption. We’re hoping Congress will act on this solution by March 31.

There is strong bipartisan support for the solution among Members of Congress. (207 Representatives; 27 Senators.) Tremendous thanks is due in large part to the ongoing efforts of Christian Scientists throughout the country!  However, we continue to need your help NOW!

  • Let us know if you will be in Washington, DC soon and would like to meet with your representative to engage with him/her on this issue.
  • Find out whether your representative will be at a local event in your area, and let us know—it could be an excellent opportunity for church members to ask or thank the representative for his/her support!

As always, please periodically visit this website for updates; and if you hear your family, friends, or fellow branch church members wondering about this topic, encourage them to check out the resources on our website and to subscribe to the Federal Office newsletter!

 

2014 ACA Decision Flow Chart for Christian Scientists

This is the year that the Affordable Care Act takes effect, and I thought this flow chart from the Federal Office might help anyone needing some guidance on insurance. This information is found here: 2014 ACA decision flow chart for Christian Scientists.

Beginning in 2014, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), virtually all Americans will need to have a medical health insurance plan that meets federal requirements, or pay a tax penalty. So, like other Americans, Christian Scientists must think through their options under the ACA and how to comply with the law.

Looking for some guidance as you think through your options regarding the health care reform law in 2014? Check out this flow chart we’ve created for informational purposes (the Church does not provide legal advice).

If you don’t have qualifying or any coverage and would like to purchase a plan, you can visit your state’s online health insurance marketplace to see what your options are and enroll.

You may also want to check out our ACA FAQs and ACA Resources page.

ACA flow chart

Links found in the chart

General information about the ACA: healthcare.gov

Information about the penalty for not having qualifying coverage: http://bit.ly/13Beo2R

Information about Medicare, including your enrollment status: medicare.gov

Information about subsidies and the financial hardship exemption: healthcare.gov/exemptions/

The Church does not provide legal advice. This page is for informational purposes only.

Featured photo

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Deepening My Understanding of Health Care

Deepening My Understanding of Health Care

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Here in Southern California, just as in other parts of the country, people have many views on whether the Affordable Care Act, in effect January 2014, will be the country’s health panacea. At this time we call to your attention from the US Federal website Evan Mehlenbacher’s spiritual blog that lifts thought above politics and into an inspired view of where health comes from.

If you live and listen to the media in the United States, the word “Obamacare” pops up in the news on a daily basis.

The label refers to “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” a massive legislated health reform effort underway by the US government to reform the healthcare system of the country.

Opinions about whether the country should have Obamacare or not are often heated, to say the least, and the populace is far from united on the subject.

Aside from the politics, merits and demerits of the program, I found it useful in my own prayers to be clear about what kind of system I was looking to for the finest health possible.

Was it going to be Obamacare or a variation of government oversight that gave me the best options?

I had to go higher.

To continue reading Evan Mehlenbacher’s blog, click here.

Important ACA Updates

Important ACA Updates

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by Don Ingwerson

Beginning in 2014, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), virtually all Americans will need to have a medical health insurance plan that meets federal requirements, or pay a tax penalty. (Those who are enrolled in Medicare or another government health plan will be treated as complying with the law; those enrolled in an employer-sponsored health plan should check with their employer to confirm whether the plan is ACA-compliant.) So, like other Americans, Christian Scientists must think through their options under the ACA and how to comply with the law. This information, from the Federal Committee on Publication office, provides some helpful information to understand and plan for these health care requirements:

Christian Science coverage not included in state exchanges for 2014

As you know, over the past two years, the U.S. Federal Office has diligently worked to secure the inclusion of Christian Science health care services in health insurance plans offered at the state insurance marketplaces. We are deeply grateful for governmental receptivity to insurance coverage of this kind.

However, because of the time crunch that insurance carriers experienced due to state and federal governmental delays, it ultimately was not possible for Christian Science health care services to be included in the state exchanges for 2014.

Congressional exemption solution still uncertain

The U.S. Federal Office continues to pursue a legislative solution with Congress that would enable those with sincerely held religious beliefs against purchasing the required medical insurance to apply for an exemption.

There is strong support for this solution among Members of Congress; however, we cannot guarantee that Congress will act on the legislation this year. As always, please consult our website for periodic updates, and let us know if you’d like to help with these efforts!

2014 ACA decision flow chart

Looking for some guidance as you think through your options regarding the health care reform law in 2014? Check out this flow chart we’ve created for informational purposes (the Church does not provide legal advice).

High-Deductible Insurance Plans and the ACA

High-Deductible Insurance Plans and the ACA

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by Don Ingwerson

Recently the Committee on Publication Federal Office posted new information on high-deductible insurance plans and how they fit in with the Affordable Care Act. I hope you find this information helpful as you go forward with any possible search for health insurance. To read this article on the original site, click here: High-deductible insurance plans and the ACA.

High-deductible plans (also sometimes called “catastrophic” or “self-directed” plans) have become a popular option for obtaining emergency, safety net-type coverage for large, unforeseen health care expenses. Monthly premiums for these policies are lower than for other health plans because the annual deductibles are higher. The potential downside to such plans is that if you incur a health expense in a particular plan year, you may have to pay more out-of-pocket until your deductibles are satisfied and the insurance kicks in.

Some high-deductible plans called “HSA-compatible health plans” can also be combined with health savings accounts (HSAs), which can be used to pay for qualified health care expenses not covered by your health plan, and might include care by Christian Science practitioners, Christian Science nurses, and Christian Science nursing facilities.*

When it comes to the ACA, some levels of high-deductible coverage will satisfy the law’s qualification standards, and some won’t. Many states offer coverage options to the public generally that are considered “catastrophic” and that meet the ACA’s requirements. Some of the options may only be available to those under the age of 30 or with low incomes and have more limited coverage. You can learn what plans are available to you on your state’s online insurance exchange.

*Please note that some high-deductible coverage is compatible for using in conjunction with a health savings account (HSA) and some is not. If you are interested in pairing high-deductible coverage with an HSA, you will want to verify that the coverage is an HSA-compatible health plan. It should reference “HSA” somewhere in the plan name or description, but it would also be good to verify that in writing with the insurance carrier.

Former Intern Discusses the ACA

Former Intern Discusses the ACA

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Model used for illustrative purposes

Elodie Reed, the Government Relations Division’s Summer 2013 intern, is now a reporter for New Hampshire’s Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. In her hot-off-the-press article, “Find a health care voice: The individual mandate, individualized,” Elodie discusses Christian Scientists and the Affordable Care Act.

Check out Elodie’s article!

You may also be interested in Elodie’s metaphysical perspective on her summer interning with the Government Relations Division: “Understanding government: an intern’s perspective”.

Affordable Care Act Updates

Affordable Care Act Updates

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by Don Ingwerson

We’re coming down to the home stretch in terms of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and many questions are still being asked. The Federal Office hosted an online Town Hall Meeting titled “The Affordable Care Act and You” on September 24th and for anyone who wants to review it or missed it the first time, there is a replay available. I also wanted to give you some new information and helpful links on the state insurance marketplaces that opened up October 1:

“The Affordable Care Act and You”: the replay

  • learn about how you can prepare for Jan. 1 and what options currently exist for Christian Scientists
  • find the answers to your questions
  • hear inspiring remarks from Margaret Rogers of the Christian Science Board of Directors.

Over 2300 computers, tablets, and phones tuned in during the live event, from Alaska and Hawaii to Montana to Maine and everywhere in between—and in many cases, branch church congregations and other groups were listening together. Here’s what a few of these listeners wrote us after the event:

  • “Thanks so much for this informative session….Thank you also for ending the meeting with the wonderful treatment from Margaret Rogers.”
  • “This was such an interesting program. I have not followed any of this before and so it is a wake up call for me to pay attention and get educated to make choices for myself.”
  • “I am so glad I took the time to listen. This was so helpful in answering questions about the ACA and it’s good to know so much is being done toward practical solutions for Christian Scientists.”

Check out the replay!

ACA update: state insurance marketplaces open October 1, 2013

The Affordable Care Act requires that most Americans obtain qualifying medical health insurance starting Jan. 1, 2014, and also provides for online state health insurance exchanges (marketplaces). Here, individuals can compare and enroll in insurance plans (and find out whether they are eligible for federal subsidies to purchase insurance).

For individuals who would like to purchase an insurance plan in the online marketplace, Oct. 1 marks the first day of open enrollment, which will continue until March 31, 2014.

Note that the government shutdown does not affect the functioning of the exchanges.

For more information about your state’s exchange, visit www.healthcare.gov. The marketplace also has a 24/7 customer call center (800-318-2596) to answer questions, as well as a website with information.

Other ACA-related questions? Check out our FAQs and Resources web pages!