Are You Required to Have Health Insurance in California in 2023?
There is an individual mandate in California that requires people to be covered by health insurance. This means, technically, you have to have health insurance or you are financially penalized. Find out more about this mandate and get some answers to some other common health insurance questions in California below.
What Is the Individual Mandate in California?
The federal government instituted an individual mandate with penalties when it implemented the Affordable Care Act. This involved requiring people to be covered by health insurance or pay a penalty when they filed their federal income taxes. The federal mandate and penalty have since been revoked, but several states have their own mandate, California among them.
The states that have such a mandate with penalties as of 2023 include California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. The District of Columbia also enforces health insurance via a tax penalty.
In California, the tax penalty for not having insurance is $850 per adult. You also must pay $450 per dependent under the age of 18. So, imagine that a family of five — two spouses and three children — are uninsured for the entire year. At tax time, the penalty they would face is $3,050.
How to Get Health Coverage in California
You can get health insurance coverage in California via a variety of methods. First, you may be able to take advantage of an employer-sponsored healthcare plan. These plans are offered by employers to covered employees. The employer pitches in to help cover some of the cost of the health insurance, which may make the premiums less expensive for employees.
You may also be able to buy an individual plan through a healthcare marketplace. This is the primary option for many people who do not have access to insurance through an employer. In some cases, people who do have access to a plan through an employer may choose to go this route because the employer-sponsored plan is too expensive or prohibitive. If the premiums offered by an employer are more than 9.12% of the income of your household in 2023, you can access discounts and other benefits through Covered California.
Eligible individuals can also take advantage of government programs such as Medicaid or Medicare to get insurance. Medicaid may be an option for those with lower incomes that cannot afford individual health insurance.
Do Employers in California Have to Offer Health Insurance Coverage?
California does not have a state mandate about employer coverage. However, there are federal guidelines for which employers must offer some sort of employer-sponsored healthcare coverage. Employers that have 50 or more full-time equivalent employees have to offer insurance or face monetary penalties.
This means that employers who have 50 or more full-time employees or the equivalent to that many employees in full- and part-time employees must provide coverage options. A full-time employee for the purpose of this mandate is someone who works, on average, 30 hours a week or more. A full-time equivalent refers to multiple part-time employees that add up to the full-time hours. For example, if you have two part-time employees that each work 15 hours per week, they total up to one full-time employee for the purpose of calculating whether or not you meet the mandate requirements.
If you are not sure what your obligations are as an employer when it comes to benefits, it can be a good idea to consult an experienced benefits or human resources attorney. Knowing your legal obligations can help you avoid issues in the future.
Protecting Your Rights With Experienced Health Insurance Lawyers When Your Health Insurer Denies Your Health Insurance Claim
Whether you have insurance through an employer or buy an individual plan in California, it is important to know what your rights are so you can work to protect them. It is not uncommon to experience disputes with insurance companies or feel that your insurance company is acting in bad faith concerning your medical insurance claim. Here are a few common disputes that occur between healthcare insurance companies and policyholders about which you may want to contact an experienced health insurance attorney:
- Whether or not services are medically necessary. Insurance providers create language in benefits documents that says certain treatments or procedures will be covered if they are medically necessary. However, this often creates some room for insurance companies to deny procedures because medical necessity has not been proven to their liking — even when doctors or other providers believe procedures are required and thus medically necessary.
- Whether usual or customary expenses are adequate. Insurance companies set usual and customary limitations on an amount they are willing to pay for common services. However, in some cases, these amounts may not be sufficient to cover required services.
- Whether a treatment is considered investigational or experimental. In many cases, insurance companies do not cover investigational or experimental treatments. That can mean that coverage is denied for relatively new procedures or medications even if those have been deemed to be a good solution to a medical problem or a doctor has ordered them. Insurers will even deny medical insurance claims when medical procedures have been around for many years and are well-proven to be effective.
Get Legal Help Through Health Insurance Attorneys With Your Health Insurance Battles
Dealing with medical insurance disputes can be daunting, especially because you typically do so when you are not feeling well or are dealing with a serious medical issue or recovery. This is just one reason it is a good idea to get legal help when your health insurer denies your health insurance claim. If you are dealing with bad faith or ERISA health insurance claims disputes, contact the McKennon Law Group PC at 949-504-5381 for a free consultation to find out how we can help.