Recently, I wrote a post about health care options for soon-to-be retiring teachers. If you didn’t read it, you can find it here.
But I’m sure it didn’t apply to many of you reading – only a handful of you may be retiring soon. A more pressing question that people have is “How will Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, affect me if I will be teaching for the foreseeable future?”
For those of you who aren’t familiar with what Obamacare is, I have included some summary videos below. These do a great job of explaining the program in basic details:
But how does Act apply to teachers?
If you’re a teacher who is working, then there may not be much change. Districts will still offer health insurance and employees will generally not have to worry about finding coverage for themselves. You will receive a letter from your insurance company / school district to confirm that your health insurance is compliant to the Affordable Care Act. If a district decides to stop offering health insurance, they will most likely assist you in moving to an exchange policy and provide some contributions to the cost. If your district is changing your health insurance as a result of Obamacare, get as much information as you can so you can make an informed decision.
But I am retiring soon, how will it affect me?
If you are a teacher who is retired or retiring soon, then this will be something that could be a big benefit to you. Many teachers retire before they are eligible for Medicare (age 65) and are left to wonder what their options are. Some may purchase a private policy; others may rely on teacher retiree healthcare (for Illinois teachers, this is the TRIP program), or go without health insurance at all.
As of October 1st, there will be another option. Many states will open up a Health Insurance Marketplace, where state residents can view and compare health insurance policies for themselves and their families. (If your state does not offer an exchange, the Federal Government will provide one). Visitors can view plans with different premiums, coverages, but most importantly, know that they will be eligible for every plan that they see. However, there will be different plans available – Bronze (low premiums, high deductible and co-pays) through Platinum (high premiums, low deductible and co-pays) which will fit different budgets and levels of care needed.
While at the time of writing this article premiums for these plans are not known, it is important to know that even after leaving the teaching profession, health insurance will still be available. For more information, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/.