GeoBlue, ObamaCare and the International Expat…

GeoBlue_logo2One of the questions that is quickly becoming a consideration for people living outside the United States is what happens to them with regards to Individual Mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).  For those Americans who do not have a domestic health plan beginning January, 1st 2014 that is considered a Qualified Health Plan how does this affect them if they are living overseas.

Well truth be told we are not really sure how all of this is going to play out but we do know at this point that if you are not enrolled in a fully compliant group or individual policy that contains the “Minimum Essential Coverage” in the plan then you will have to pay the IRS a tax penalty called a “Shared Responsibility Payment”.  Essentially the way it stands right now, if you are living overseas in a permanent situation and you do not have an ACA compliant health care plan you could be subject to these penalties.

The caveat right now as I understand it is that for those Americans spending 35 days or less per year in the United States, they will not be penalized for failing to purchase a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) that meets the ACA Individual Mandate.  That means you must live outside the borders of the United States for at least 330 days per year.  For some this may not be an issue as they really do not have plans to travel back to the United States for any length of time.

But what if you are in a situation where you are living overseas because of your employment?  If your employer requires you to return periodically throughout the year to the U.S. will this affect your requirement to maintain coverage?  As I understand it now – it will!  So if you make frequent trips back to the U.S. for job related issues and if you accumulate more than 35+ days in the U.S. then you may want to have a talk with your employer and see how the Individual Mandate will affect your family.

The Health and Human Services has issued clear guidelines and Regulations regarding this matter.  Apparently they do see the need to review International Health Insurance plans being offered today on a case by case basis but as it stands right now, no insurance carrier’s expat policies meet the threshold necessary for affected individuals that would allow them to avoid the “Shared Responsibility Payment”.

GeoBlue however is working very hard and closely with the Health and Human Services to address this issue.  Geoblue has taken the position that having such extensive, core PPACA compliant benefits in their  expat plans helps position them in a very positive light.  And, in addition to these benefits, GeoBlue plans are filed as short-term limited duration licensed health insurance in the United States, and GeoBlue follows individual state benefit mandates which adds a significant protective layer to the insurance issuance and any claims process.   All of this benefits the US consumer and further enhances our status.

The combination of all the above factors places GeoBlue in a unique position in the expat marketplace, and GeoBlue is investigating every option to assist it customers by offering the most functional expat product possible.  But until the GeoBlue has their day with the HHS then people need to be aware of this potential financial hazard.

GeoBlue for the U.S. Citizen is clearly the first choice in International coverage when traveling or living abroad.  No other carrier offers the same protection to the U.S. Citizen going abroad.  GeoBlue offers the strength of the Blue Brands in the United States.  GeoBlue members have access to the Blue Cross and Blue shield network within the United States.  When abroad you have access to a network of doctors from almost every specialty in over 180 countries.

Flat out… GeoBlue provides unsurpassed services and the convenience of mobile technology to access the best medical care no matter what town, country or time zone.  If you are planning a trip overseas check them out now…

If you have questions contact Timothy Jennings by phone (619) 435-6700 or email me at “sales@individualhealth.com”.  I am here to help.

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