The Affordable Care Act is a law enacted in March 2010 to reform health insurance in the United States.
This law requires all Americans have health insurance coverage by Jan.1, 2014 or risk a tax penalty.
In order to assist with purchasing health insurance, advanced tax credits are available to subsidize the cost of purchasing health insurance for households earning 400% or less of the federal poverty level. The amount of assistance depends on your household income. In addition, the amount you pay toward your premium is limited to a percentage of your income if your household income is 400% or less of the federal poverty level.
Each state has a newly-created Health Insurance Marketplace, where insurance companies can offer health insurance plans that have been approved by the state for affordability and for minimum coverage requirements. These minimum coverage requirements are known as “Essential Health Benefits".
Insurance plans that participate in the Health Insurance Marketplace can be compared “apples to apples” by looking at covered Essential Health Benefits and costs. Participating plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace will be identified by the level of cost sharing between the insured and the insurer at each level: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. This allows the consumer to more easily compare health insurance plans to decide what is best for them and their family.
In Montana, three health insurance companies will participate in the Health Insurance Marketplace: BlueCross and BlueShield, the Montana Health Co-Op, and PacificSource.
The following organizations have Certified Application Counselors on staff who can answer your questions and help you enroll in affordable health insurance coverage. Assistance is available to the public:
500 W Broadway
Missoula, MT 59801
6 Thirteenth Avenue East
Polson, MT 59860
401 W Railroad
Missoula, MT 59802