Insurance Industry Changes Start with New Year - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Insurance Industry Changes Start with New Year

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The insurance industry has gone through a lot of changes throughout the last year, especially with Obamacare which starts today, and 2014 is still bringing more changes. ABC Montana's Joe Moeller has the details on what changes take into effect today.

Its now the first day of 2014 and the Affordable Care Act is in full effect with more than two million people enrolled in private plans. The disastrous roll-out began in October and enrollment lasts through March, but most people had to enroll by last week to get coverage that starts with the New Year.

"There are some important changes though that begin January 1st in terms of the insurance industry and the insurance market, that I think shoppers especially first time buyers or those who have been frustrated in the past with insurance will be pleased to know about." said Jennifer McKee from the Insurance Commissioners Office.

Along with Obamacare kicking in on the first day of 2014 so does the individual mandate that requires most Americans to obtain insurance or pay a fine, although consumers have until march thirty first to enroll with getting hit with the fine.

"For the first time your insurance company can't discriminate against you if you have survived a disease or a serious injury, they can't charge you more for that, they can not deny you for that. There are new caps on what you can pay out of pocket, all preventative care is paid for with no costs sharing which means no money out of your pocket. So there are some important changes that are happening to health insurance." said McKee.

These changes are not coming with the insurance companies, but the federal government.

"They really are the heart of Obamacare, I mean it sounds like a new government program and it kind of is but really it is insurance regulation and tax credits to help people buy insurance." added McKee.

If Montanans have questions regarding any new changes to the marketplace the Insurance Commissioners Office is here to help.

"They can submit a question directly through our website there is four of us here who are trained to answer all those questions and if we can not answer them we have an Obamacare expert in our legal staff we bring our hardest questions to."

Coverage under Obamacare has started, and although the goal was over three million enrollees by this time officials say the goal by the end of the enrollment period in March is seven million.

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