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UFA Update: Health Exchange Info for Fishermen and Fishing Groups

Health Care Open Enrollment to start October 1

Info on the Affordable Care Act for Fishermen and Fishing Groups

The Affordable care act provides an opportunity for self-employed individuals and families to apply for health insurance through the “Marketplace”,  regardless of previous conditions or non-coverage. The Act requires individuals to have coverage beginning January 1, 2014, and provides tax credits to help pay for coverage for some individuals, with penalties of $95 or 1% of annual income for not having coverage.  For those already paying for health insurance, there are potential refunds for qualified individuals and small businesses.

The Act provides small businesses that do not currently offer coverage the opportunity to shop for group coverage, with tax credits available to qualifying small businesses.

The process for both is online, with telephone support as well as localized one on one support through “navigators” that are trained and funded to help.

Wall Street Journal: What You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304213904579093371338509610.html

Below are descriptions and useful links for fishermen and fishing groups.

Fishermen – self employed:

If you're self-employed with no employees, you're not considered an employer. You can use the individual Marketplace to find coverage that fits your needs.

If you live in Alaska, you’ll use the healthcare.gov federal marketplace at https://www.healthcare.gov/what-is-the-health-insurance-marketplace/#state=alaska, to apply for coverage, compare plans, and enroll.. You can apply as early as October 1, 2013. Plan and Cost info will be available then, but you can go online now and find out about options are benefits you may be eligible for…

More info online at https://www.healthcare.gov/what-if-im-self-employed/

More info for families is at  https://www.healthcare.gov/families/.

If you live in other states, your state may operate their own marketplace. Find out your marketplace and apply for coverage and compare plans by selecting your state at https://www.healthcare.gov/what-is-the-health-insurance-marketplace/ .

For individual help in your local area, see “Navigators” below.

Tip: be sure to check the plan choices details to understand what you are buying, and to ensure that the providers and hospitals that you prefer are included in your coverage network.

Fishing Groups and Small Businesses Employers:

You can apply for small business health insurance group plans through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace: https://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/shop/#state=alaska

The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is a new program that simplifies the process of buying health insurance for your small business. For 2014, the SHOP Marketplace is open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time-eqivalent employees (FTEs). The advantages of using SHOP include:

  • You control the coverage you offer and how much you pay toward employee premiums.
  • You can compare health plans online on an apples-to-apples basis, which helps you make a decision that's right for your business.
  • You may qualify for a small business health care tax credit worth up to 50% of your premium costs. You can still deduct from your taxes the rest of your premium costs not covered by the tax credit. Beginning 2014 the tax credit is available only for plans purchased through SHOP.

Compare small business plans and apply online 

You can enroll starting October 1, 2013 for coverage starting as soon as January 1, 2014. You can also enroll and begin coverage any time after January 1, 2014.

See https://www.healthcare.gov/what-is-the-shop-marketplace/ )

Fishing Groups and Small Businesses Employers (continued):

Small Business Help Resources: Have questions about the SHOP Marketplace for businesses with 50 or fewer employees? Call 1-800-706-7893 (TTY users: 1-800-706-7915). Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

(from https://www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses/)

IRS Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for Small Employers

To be eligible, you must cover at least 50 percent of the cost of single (not family) health care coverage for each of your employees. You must also have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). Those employees must have average wages of less than $50,000 (as adjusted for inflation beginning in 2014) per year. Remember, you will have to purchase insurance through the SHOP Marketplace to be eligible for the credit for tax years 2014 and beyond…

To claim the credit you must use Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums, to calculate the credit. For detailed information on filling out this form, see the Instructions for Form 8941.

More info:

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Small-Business-Health-Care-Tax-Credit-for-Small-Employers

IRS Form 8941: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8941.pdf

Instructions for Form 8941: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8941.pdf

Navigators

There are individuals or organization trained and able to help consumers, small businesses, and their employees as they look for health coverage options through the Marketplace, including completing eligibility and enrollment forms. These individuals and organizations are required to be unbiased. Their services are free to consumers. For Alaska, the federally funded Navigators are The United Way of Anchorage and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, who are prepared with locations and contacts serving Alaska communities. Visit https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/ to find help in your area. You can search by city and state or zip code (in Alaska or other states) to see a list of local organizations with contact information, office hours, and types of help offered, such as non-English language support, Medicaid or CHIP, and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).

Find Local help page: https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/   

24/7 Toll Free help line: 1-800-318-2596   TTY: 1-855-889-4325

https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/

More info: https://www.healthcare.gov/how-do-i-get-help-enrolling-in-the-marketplace/

Enroll Alaska  There is also a newly-created broker, Enroll Alaska, that has also geared up to provide information and to help Alaskans shop and enroll in coverage, funded by participating insurers. More information:  Anchorage Daily News: Alaska broker makes big move under Affordable Care Act

http://www.adn.com/2013/09/28/3100400/alaska-broker-makes-big-move-under.html#storylink=cpy

Enroll Alaska website:

http://www.enrollingalaska.com/home.aspx

This information complied by staff of United Fishermen of Alaska.  Please contact us with feedback to help us serve our members, at ufa@ufa-fish.org or 907-586-2820.

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