Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon visited 'Mornings With Ken and Bernie' to discuss the complexity of the Affordable Care Act.

According to Commissioner Donelon,

The first thing everybody needs to know is if you're good with where you are health insurance wise you're good to stay there.  If that's where you want to be, if you don't think you will qualify for a subsidy as the Affordable Care Act provides for folks who are at the 100% level of poverty up to 400% of the poverty level.

When asked to define 'poverty level' as it applies to the Affordable Care Act, Commissioner Donelon said,

If you're an individual 400% of the poverty level means you can make up to $43,000 per year and qualify for a subsidy.  If you're a mom and pop with two children, a family of four you can make up to $93,000 and qualify for a subsidy.  If you're going to get a subsidy you have to get your insurance through the exchange.  You can get to the exchange through your current agent, you can do it directly online, you can reach out on-line through a navigator or call us on our helpline at 1-800-259-5300.  We have consumer counselors ready to help consumers through the process.

In addition to the purchase of insurance Commissioner Donelon noted there is another consideration,

Beginning January 1, 2014 for individuals next year when they file their tax returns they're going to have to say whether they have health insurance in place or not.  If they don't have health insurance in place there's a penalty.  That penalty is the higher of $95 or 1% of their income.  The following year the penalty will be $695 or 2.5% of their income whichever is higher.  That's the mandatory penalty or tax, whatever you want to call it that makes the other provision of the Affordable Care Act feasible.  That is the 'guarantee issue provision'.  What that does is help folks with catastrophic health issues that have prevented them from getting or affording health insurance in the past.

You can get more information by calling Insurance Commissioner Donelon's office at 1-800-259-5300 or visiting the Insurance Commissioner's website.

Listen to the interview: