Updated on September 22, 2017
Louisiana does not run its own state-based health insurance exchange. Instead, residents here use the federally facilitated site at HealthCare.gov. They can also use an independent agent, broker site or company to enroll directly while still taking advantage of cost-saving measures under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Requirement by Law
Despite the political upheaval this year over healthcare reform, it’s important to note that Obamacare’s individual mandate is still in effect. The IRS has stated that it will be enforcing the mandate as well. Under the Affordable Care Act, all eligible Americans – which represents much of the country – must hold qualifying health insurance or face a penalty fee. For this year, the fee is the greater of 2.5 percent of your household’s taxable income or a flat fee of $695 per adult ($347.50 per child under 18). The fee increases with inflation each year.
Enrollment in Louisiana
During the 2017 open enrollment period, 143,577 people signed up for health insurance using the exchange, compared to over 214,000 last year. The significant shift downward in enrollment can be contributed to several factors, including uncertainty over the current administration’s stance on healthcare reform and rising premium costs.
While customers in Louisiana can use the federal marketplace site for enrollment, it may be beneficial to shop around using a comparison site like this one. Getting current quotes from multiple carriers can help you find a plan that adequately addresses your needs and fits your budget. Brokers can also help explain your options more clearly.
In 2018, Louisiana exchange customers will be able to choose from three carriers on the exchange, down from four carriers this year: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, HMO Louisiana and Vantage Health Plan. Customers with plans from Humana, which will exit at the end of 2017, will need to find new coverage for the coming year.
Plan options from these insurers will vary across the state. Premium rate increases for 2018 will also vary, but the average is about 21 percent assuming that cost-sharing reduction payments will not be made and that the individual mandate will not be enforced.
For lower- and middle-income families and individuals – those earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level – there are provisions in place for financial assistance, including tax credits and subsidies. Approximately 86 percent of Louisiana’s exchange customers qualified for premium subsidies in 2017. For more information about federal financial assistance, start the enrollment process today. Open enrollment for 2018 runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017 this year.
Although passed in 2010, Obamacare, also known by the more formal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or ACA, this healthcare law actually went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Under the ACA, all Louisiana residents' healthcare needs are fulfilled by a federally facilitated exchange, Healthcare.gov.
For the 2015 Open Enrollment Period (OEP), research shows that more than 184,00 of the state's residents enrolled in an approved Marketplace plan. But not all of them paid their initial premiums, and some people cancelled their coverage in the early days of 2015. This is actually about 83,000 more enrollees compared to 2014 enrollment.
By clicking on the federal Marketplace website, customers can compare available plans, whether private or for for-profit, and receive pricing and benefit information. But it's important to thoroughly review your options. Thanks to Obamacare, there are such changes as: protections against unjustified rate hikes; exclusions due to pre-existing conditions; and the ability to remain on parents' policies up to the age of 26.
But under the ACA, all nonexempt Americans are required to purchase health insurance within the OEP. This year, it runs from November 1, 2015, through Jan. 31, 2016. If you fail to enroll by that time, you could face the penalty of an IRS-imposed tax. We encourage all Louisiana residents to visit Healthcare.gov to review and select health coverage.
You can use the links below to get quotes direct from national insurance providers.