Obamacare For Musicians: An Introduction

Insurance-marketplaceObamacare is here and musicians have to start figuring out how it affects their world. We're now in open enrollment and, though the site has had some problems and isn't always available, you can sign up now or just get additional information. Obviously some will pay more and some less. But keep in mind that in States where Medicaid assistance was refused, the working poor, which could well include many musicians, may not be able to afford required coverage given that needed assistance will not be provided. Here's an initial intro which I'll be updating with additional resources as I find them.

The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was signed into law in 2010. Since then aggressive attempts to derail that legislation, often involving flip flopping politicians who voted for it, have led to various dramatic moments including the shutdown of the Federal government which didn't last long but, by some estimates, cost taxpayers at least $24 billion.

The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare (via Musformation)

Now we're facing the realities of Obamacare with little rational public discussion behind us and a great deal of confusion all around. The above video is a useful intro if you want to get a sense of the bigger picture but you're probably more interested in how it will affect you.

Since the biggest question marks are likely for individual musicians and industry freelancers who aren't getting insurance through an employer, that will be my focus.

Home base is HealthCare.gov. You have to enroll in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace during an open enrollment period.

Open enrollment began October 1 for coverage beginning as early as Jan. 1. Open enrollment closes on Mar. 31, 2014.

Pricing will vary by State and even by county. You can get premium estimates but note:

"The prices here don't reflect the lower costs an applicant may qualify for based on household size and income. Many people who apply will qualify for reduced costs through tax credits that are automatically applied to monthly premiums."

Healthcare.gov has a FAQ for a wide range of questions including ways to get lower costs on coverage.

You may also find this Subsidy Calculator from the Kaiser Family Foundation of help in completing your estimate of costs.

Additional resources at HealthCare.gov:

What if I'm self-employed?

Get Covered: A one-page guide to the Health Insurance Marketplace

I'll be looking for additional information resources and updating as needed. Until then, I hope you don't end up like this poor woman:

"In a state that has chosen not to expand Medicaid, Yvonne is in the staggering position of now making too much money to qualify for Medicaid, and too little to obtain subsidies through the Affordable Care Act."

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. Very exciting news for those of us who need it and qualify for subsidies. I`ll be signing my family up in January. Although AHA is only really helpful to those who make less than $70k. I say that based on comparing the rates for Kaiser from the AHA site and from the Kaiser homepage.

  2. My plan just went from 187/mo to 470/mo..
    In this plan I have to pay for maternity leave (no kids, male) and a childrens dental plan (again, no kids).
    How does Obama explain this?
    Complete disaster..

  3. The thing is, until America truly commits to health care for all its citizens, we’re going to continue to see employers squirm they’re way out of responsibility for their employees and more schemes to benefit big business, as this one does the insurance companies.
    It’s kind of like the bank bailout the Bush administration came up with which was followed through by Obama.
    Banks were too big to fail. Now they’re richer and bigger.
    At the end of the day, we all blame one politician or another but it’s our fault that we haven’t done anything but turn on each other, often with opinions that have no basis in reality.

  4. On a related note, universities have been balancing their teaching budgets off the backs of adjuncts for decades now.
    Adjuncts are weak and nobody cares about them.
    In fact, most students and parents want real full-time faculty rather than part-timers driving around from college to college trying to make ends meet.
    So, tell me, John. What have you done to help adjuncts besides posting stuff online?

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