February 15 will mark the end of the open-enrollment period for truckers shopping for health-insurance coverage on the insurance exchanges put in place by the Obama administration following passage of the Affordable Care Act several years back.
To ensure coverage for the entirety of 2015, truckers intending to purchase ACA-compliant insurance on the exchanges this year for the first time should have already selected a plan — Dec. 15 was the deadline to ensure coverage began Jan. 1.
Yet the exchanges remain open — not that Overdrive readers are flocking to them in droves. Our most recent few polls on the subject show only around 1 in 10 readers utilizing the exchanges. On the other extreme, 3 in 10 remain content to run without health insurance and pay the penalty for it come tax time.
Following the initially disastrous open enrollment in 2013, Florida-based independent insurance broker Marc Ballard, then pursuing a partnership to build an exchange to connect with the federal state exchanges in collaboration with the Healthy Trucking Association of America, sat on the sidelines as the kinks were worked out in the exchange program writ large. For those looking for health insurance to satisfy the ACA’s individual mandate this time around, Ballard and the National Association of Independent Truckers, working with Chicago-based ConnectedHealth, which provides an online platform through which users can shop for insurance, opened the new Truckers Insurance Exchange.
It’s a private exchange geared toward drivers and owner-operators with agents who are able to offer assistance through the entire process, from a determination of subsidy/premium discount level to selecting a plan and enrolling.
In the podcast below, Ballard runs through issues surrounding the ACA this time around, including:
**Premium discounts/subsidies are based on Modified Adjusted Gross Income, not simply “gross income” — based on income data from trucking-accounting firms, Ballard estimates around 50 percent of truckers probably do qualify for a subsidy of some kind, and that many don’t know it.
**Competition is up among insurers in the exchanges — for those who auto-renewed policies on the exchanges last year, there’s still time to shop for a better deal.
**Tax implications for those paying the penalty this year and next, likewise for those autorenewing a policy from the last enrollment period.
**Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell adverse to the ACA could derail the entire program — the ruling is expected this spring or summer.
Run through more detail on all of these points and more in the audio below.