Changing Health Care: Terms You Need to Know
Health Savings Account (HSA)
There's a tax benefit to an HSA account. Just like an FSA, the money that goes into an HSA is tax-free. But unlike an FSA, the money isn't "use it or lose it." You can spend the money in an HSA account years later if you want to.
For 2016, the HSA limit is $3,350 for individuals and $6,750 for families. If you are over age 55, you can contribute an additional $1,000.
Health insurance Marketplaces, also known as exchanges, are a key part of the health reform law.
A Marketplace is an online website set up in each state that allows people to enroll in a health insurance plan. You can compare health plans and prices in a Marketplace and find a plan that's right for you. You'll also be able to find out if you qualify for government subsidies to help pay for a plan's premium. You must shop for a health plan during the annual open enrollment period (November through January) unless you have a qualifying event, such as a job loss, that allows you to have a special enrollment period.
In a Marketplace, you can also find out if you qualify for Medicaid or government programs like the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). If you are eligible, you can enroll in Medicaid and CHIP at any time during the year.
"Preexisting condition" is a term you may have encountered when trying to get health insurance. It refers to a medical condition that you had before you tried to enroll in an insurance plan. Traditionally, preexisting conditions have been used by insurance companies as a reason to disallow coverage for that condition. However, insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny you coverage or charge you more for a plan because you have a preexisting condition.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
A PPO is a type of health plan that provides health care coverage through a network of providers. If you have a PPO, you likely will pay much less for medical service from in-network providers than for service from out-of-network providers.