Affordable Alabama health insurance

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Alabama health insurance exchange

alabama guide to health insurance

Alabama health insurance exchange

July 24, 2014

Obamacare enrollment in Alabama has ended for 2014. People who get married or divorced, change jobs, have a child or experience another qualifying event may be eligible for a special enrollment period. Enrollment for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) continues throughout the year. Individuals who don’t have health insurance that provides “minimum essential coverage” may have to pay a penalty: $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater.

Open enrollment for 2015 coverage through the marketplace begins Nov. 15.

Signups for qualified health plans (QHPs) in Alabama grew 78 percent — from 55,304 as of March 1 to 97,870 — in the final weeks of 2014 open enrollment. While Alabama is not expanding its Medicaid program, 22,564 people who visited the marketplace qualified for either Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) under existing eligibility criteria.

Among Alabama residents selecting a QHP, 85 percent qualified for financial assistance, which matches the national figure. Nine percent of Alabama residents selected a bronze plan (20 percent nationally), 77 percent selected a silver plan (65 percent nationally), 7 percent selected a gold plan (9 percent nationally), 5 percent selected a platinum plan (5 percent nationally) and 3 percent selected a catastrophic plan (2 percent nationally). Thirty-one percent of Alabama enrollees were between the ages of 18 and 34.

The federal government is operating the health insurance marketplace in Alabama, based on Gov. Robert Bentley’s November 2012 decision against a state-run marketplace. Bentley cited annual operating costs of up to $50 million as his reason for opting for a federally operated exchange. Bentley also ruled out an expansion of Medicaid in the state.

The decision against a state-run exchange came somewhat as a surprise. While the Republican governor consistently opposed many provisions of the Affordable Care Act, he repeatedly expressed support for a state health insurance exchange. He supported exchanges during his campaign for governor, and as governor, he used an executive order to establish the Alabama Health Insurance Exchange Study Commission. In November 2011, that commission unanimously recommended Alabama implement a state-run exchange. However, bills to establish a state-run exchange failed to pass in both the 2011 and 2012 sessions.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, which dominates the health insurance market in the state, and Humana sold individual health insurance through the federal marketplace in Alabama for 2014. According to HHS, Alabama consumers had the fewest choices among the 36 states with partnership or federally facilitated marketplace for 2014 coverage. State residents had an average of seven health plans from which to choose; the national average was 53.

Alabama health insurance exchange links

State Exchange Profile: Alabama
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Alabama’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.

Executive Order establishing Alabama Health Insurance Exchange Study Commission

AL health insurance exchange news

State-by-state open enrollment extension details

Curious to see how your state is handling the open enrollment deadline?  Most states…

Alabama enrollment at 84 percent of goal

Associated Press — More than 55,000 Alabama residents have enrolled in private health…

More than 500 could die annually in Alabama without Medicaid expansion — A study by a major health journal estimates 215 to 525 people in Alabama will…

Rejection of Medicaid expansion hurts Alabama’s working poor, hospitals

The Wall Street Journal — About 190,000 of Alabama’s uninsured residents fall…

Alabama city could save $1 million by sending workers to for insurance

The Selma times-Journal —The city of Selma is projected to spend $1.46 million for…

BCBSAL lists ‘Obamacare’ taxes on bills

NPR — Alabama’s largest insurer is detailing taxes associated with the Affordable…

BCBSAL will not extend non-compliant insurance policies — Alabama’s largest insurer will not extend policies that don’t…

States’ refusal to expand Medicaid leaves 5.2 million without health insurance

Bloomberg — Twenty-six states refused to expand Medicaid coverage through the…

Two insurers to offer individual health insurance in Alabama marketplace

Birmingham Business Journal  — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, which dominates the…

Three companies participating in Alabama health insurance marketplace

Birmingham Business Journal — Two companies will sell health insurance to individuals…

Voice your concerns to your
Alabama elected officials

tell your elected officials

Let your Alabama governor and legislators know how you feel about the state’s proposed health insurance exchange.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130
PHONE: 334-242-7100
FAX: 334-353-0004
Contact by e-mail
Contact your Alabama State Senator and State Representative