Robert Freedman is the former director of multimedia communications at NAR.
Health Coverage Deadline Nears
REALTORS® Insurance Marketplace offers ACA-compliant options.
January 21, 2014
The clock is ticking to obtain health coverage—if you don’t already have it—to be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act. The open enrollment deadline is March 31. Miss it, and you face a penalty.
The good news is that many of the glitches that bedeviled the launch of Healthcare.gov, the federal government’s consumer-facing insurance exchange, have been fixed, and users are reporting a much improved experience from those first troubled weeks. The site functions as the public insurance exchange for the 27 states that don’t have their own online marketplace and as a portal to the others that have set up their own exchanges.
You have another option as a REALTOR®, and that’s to use REALTORS® Insurance Marketplace, available through the REALTOR Benefits® Program. The Marketplace offers NAR members a private exchange on which you can compare plans and purchase your coverage, much as you would though the federal or state exchanges. In addition to the ACA-compliant major medical plans available, the marketplace also makes NAR-provided supplemental coverage available through REALTORS® Core Health Insurance. This supplemental plan isn’t ACA-compliant, but it can help you lower the costs of your major medical coverage or fill a coverage gap that your major medical plan doesn’t include. If you already have coverage that meets the ACA’s requirements, you should be all set for 2014. If you’re unsure whether your existing coverage is ACA-compliant or is grandfathered in, be sure to talk to your insurance representative. A plan doesn’t need to comply with the ACA if you’ve had it continuously since the law’s passage in March 2010 and its terms haven’t significantly changed. But be aware that if your existing plan isn’t ACA-compliant or your plan has substantively changed since March 2010, you’ll need to find an ACA-compliant plan by the end of open enrollment, or you’ll get hit with the penalty, which for 2014 is $95 per adult in your household or 1 percent of your household income, whichever is greater.