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With enrollment in the federal health insurance marketplace starting Nov. 15, Beverly Gossage of the Greater Kansas City Association of Health Underwriters shares helpful information that could make your decision easier.

Independent agents:
– Are subject to strict state licensing laws and ongoing education requirements to write policies off exchange

-Most are also federally certified to assist on the exchange, including determining premium and cost sharing subsidies

-Familiar with products, networks, and differences among carriers

-Educate consumers on their complex health care coverage choices

-Help consumers select the most appropriate plans for their specific needs, including checking the network for their doctor

-Serve as consumer advocate if problems should arise going forward with claims, billing, network, etc .

-Help small employers decide if they should offer a group policy or assist employees with individual policies

-Explain government compliance regulations regarding special enrollment, adding and deleting dependents, etc.

Consumers can access independent, licensed agents who can assist on and off the exchange at the website for the local chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

Nonparticipation Tax Penalty for 2015

The higher of these two amounts:
2% of your yearly household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, about $10,000 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a bronze plan.


$325 per person for the year ($162.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $975.