I explain in this post how you can browse for insurance plans and apply for Obamacare with minimum use of the online Exchange.
One of the reasons people have been frustrated with the Obamacare Health Exchanges is that healthcare.gov doesn’t let you browse for plans before actually starting the application process. Well, there is a way to search for plans and estimate your monthly premium after subsidies (if any) fairly quickly and easily. I explain how in this post. Additionally, I will show you where to obtain a paper application for Obamacare that you can simply fill out and send in by mail if you do not want to use the online Obamacare application process.HOW TO BROWSE FOR OBAMACARE COVERAGE BEFORE APPLYING
Follow the following four steps to browse for a health insurance plan on the Obamacare Exchanges without having to actually begin the application process.Step One: Calculate your Modified Adjusted Gross Income
Your eligibility for a subsidy under Obamacare depends upon your “Modified Adjusted Gross Income” (MAGI). In most cases, your MAGI is simply the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) on your tax return—Line 4 on a Form 1040EZ, Line 21 on a Form 1040A, or Line 37 on a Form 1040. If you have certain types of income (most people don’t have these), you will need to add back in this income to get your true MAGI. Add back in any of the following shown on your Form 1040 or Form 2555: Non-taxable Social Security benefits (Line 20a minus 20b on a Form 1040), Tax-exempt interest (Line on 8b on a Form 1040), and Foreign earned income & housing expenses for Americans living abroad (calculated on a Form 2555)Step Two: Calculate the amount of SUBSIDY you can obtain, if any.
Once you know your MAGI, you can go to this Subsidy Calculator to see if you are eligible for a Subsidy and how much assistance you might receive: CLICK HERE to access the calculator or go here: http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/You will enter your state, zip code, county, your MAGI, and the number of adults and/or children to be insured. The calculator will show you the amount of subsidy that you are entitled to receive annually based upon your income. Divide this amount by 12 to get the amount of the monthly subsidy.
Step Three: Select a planNext go to https://www.healthcare.gov/ Click on “SEE PLANS NOW”
You will be asked some basic questions about the coverage you are seeking, where you live, etc. Then you will see a list of plans offered in your area and the MONTHLY premium you would pay for each plan for the Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels (plus Castatrophic if you are under ). Forbes provides an explanation of these different levels: CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF COVERAGEDeduct the MONTHLY SUBSIDY to obtain the MONTHLY PREMIUM you would pay for that plan.
NOTE: You will probably want to print out or write down the information about all of the plans or at least those in your price range for use in the next step.Step Four: Check for online details about the plan(s) you selected.
Healthcare.gov only gives you the name of the plan(s) and the monthly premium(s) but you can usually get more details about the plan(s) online. Go to Google and search for the name of the plan(s) you selected. Often you will find that the same plan(s) listed on sites like ehealthinsurance.com with more detail about what the plan covers.Decide which plan(s) you can afford that best suit your needs.
HOW TO APPLY FOR OBAMACARE BY PHONE OR BY MAILNow that you have selected the plan that best fits your needs, you can go back to healthcare.gov to begin the application process. If the online application process is too slow or you just don’t want to do the application online, click on APPLY BY PHONE. You will get a number to call where someone can take you application. Also, you will be able to search for the name and location of some organization in your area that can assist you in completing the application process.
Paper Application: If you would rather just fill out and mail in a form to apply, paper application forms are available at these links. [NOTE: You may want to download and fill out a paper application even if you apply by phone or get help. If you fill out as much of the form in advance as you can, that should speed up the whole phone or in person application process.]Family paper application forms and instructions are here:
Instructions: http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/marketplace-application-for-family-instructions-.pdfApplication Form: http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/marketplace-application-for-family.pdf
Individual paper application forms and instructions are here:Instructions: http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/individual-short-form-instructions.pdf
Application Form: http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/individual-short-form.pdfAdditional information and assistance
More forms and information about the Obamacare and the application process can be found here: http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/publications-and-articles.html
Hope this helps.