America has now had a chance to see the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in action over the last few months. There is no doubt, we are staring at mixed results, and strong emotions, and opinions. We would like to review how it has affected those within the trucking industry and further introduce what we believe is the best possible portal and call center for our industry.
To start, the fact is that the lifestyle of the professional driver has contributed to poor health and a list of related health issues. The sedentary lifestyle combined with stress, irregular sleep patterns, lack of exercise, and poor food choices/options has led to illnesses such as: arthritis, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and cancer ( kidney, bladder, and lung).
Another fact is that many driver profits and earnings are low and although the need for health coverage should be a priority considering their heath risks, many times they are not. Many drivers who would want to purchase health coverage have been turned down for pre-exisitng conditions.
Owner Operators are high on this list of uninsured drivers as profits continually go down because of various causes such as high fuel prices, increased regulations, increased mandates on fuel efficiency and GHG emissions, and low paying freight.
The Health Law ( ACA) has caused much controversy among the country, however, there is no other group that we can see that deserves to benefit from this law more than the professional driver. When we look at the heath risks combined with their wages ( which have not increased for 20 years) they will be among those who will certainly profit.
Initially, Healthcare.gov, the federally run portal that all individuals and insurance companies must traverse to complete a health application, was run aground. Although the federal site is now up and running, it seems as if everyone is taking a breath and seeing where it goes next. There are other call centers and websites designed to aid purchasers in health coverage, however, one issue we have observed is the lack of trucking industry knowledge that other call centers may have, specifically answering questions correctly and giving appropriate advice.
Truck Drivers, including Owner Operators, have a unique lifestyle and business design. This will dramatically affect the reduction in premiums that many times can be missed by a “general call center” who may not ask the right questions during screening, or in a worst case scenario, flat out give poor direction.
For these reasons, we are encouraging those within the trucking community to go to the CDL Consultant and Pay Plans and Benefits website. The staff at CDL Consultant understands the specific questions to ask for those within trucking in order to ensure maximum cost reductions allowed through premium tax credits.
They are committed to ensure that their callers receive the best possible advice and LOWEST possible premium available to them. Prices are fixed by law, however, just like “taxes”, if you don’t KNOW all your allowable deductions, you will not receive maximum refund. The same is the case with maximum allowed tax credits/price reduction for health insurance.
**Premium Credits (discounts) are available to people based on their Adjusted Gross Income ( AGI). Most ALL of the drivers we have spoken with, had AGI’s that allow for premium credits
Let’s take a look at what the experience at CDL Consultant has thus far achieved for professional drivers. The data is based upon assisting approximately 1000 drivers since December the 15th
- More than 85% of drivers who are not currently covered are eligible for a tax credits.
- The average discounted premium received by single drivers is close to 47%.
- The average discounted premium received by drivers plus spouses is close to 66%.
- The average discounted premium received by drivers plus families is close to 79%.
- The number of drivers receiving less than 20% discount or none at all is less than 15%.
EXAMPLE: A driver with a family of 4 earning 40K annually AGI can obtain coverage for $226/month – Gold plan with Blue Cross/Blue Shield (GA).
Normally (without tax credit/discount premium) that cost with the same plan would be $1511.00
At the end of the day these reductions are clearly making coverage affordable for many drivers who simply could not obtain insurance in the past, either because of pre-existing illnesses, or, they just couldn’t afford it.
We have found that when drivers are fully educated they are inclined to enroll in coverage. It’s important to speak to someone who is not only trained and knowledgeable regarding the New Health Laws, but also who understand the atypical challenges and circumstances of professional drivers.
Whether you love the new law or hate it, for many owner operators and uninsured company drivers, the passage of the Health Law presents a new opportunity to finally get health insurance without being scrutinized for having a medical condition.
Approximately 85% of owner operators (and most ALL uninsured Company drivers) will be eligible for tax credits based on their income.
Many out there would like to see this law fail, but the reality is it’s here to stay for a while and for many drivers, it’s the first time ever that major medical insurance will be available to them.
NOTE: People who are not offered coverage at work or who are not offered it through their spouse, have until March 31st to enroll and receive premium subsidies. You owe it to yourself and family to at least determine what Options you have.
Click on the link or make the toll free phone call 800-459-0962
Remember: The Deadline is March 31st
Keep posted for our next post affecting Trucking Carrier EMPLOYERS; “Trucking Industry Employers”- How Obamacare will affect you in 2015”