Health insurance policy with $100 bills.
The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed the new rules for how people will get insurance on the health insurance exchanges.
Officials overseeing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act have proposed rules to require that insurance companies accept a variety of payment methods, including cashier’s checks, money orders, and re-loadable pre-paid debit cards. That’s expected to help millions of low-income Americans—many of whom don’t have access to credit cards and checking accounts—who will receive federal tax credits to purchase insurance through Obamacare’s statewide marketplaces.

The health law extends premium subsidies to American households making up to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), or about $94,200 for a family of four.
But many of the people gaining insurance through Obamacare’s marketplaces will be relatively poor, since higher-paying jobs tend to come with employer-sponsored health coverage. That could wind up being a problem when they try to pay their monthly premium under the law, because a large number of lower-income people don’t have checking accounts or do business with banks, despite the increasingly electronic nature of money transfers.

Because providing free checking accounts is unprofitable, many banks have stopped offering it. So many people just can't afford to have a checking account, and others don't want the hassle. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 10 million people in the U.S. don't have bank accounts at all. This rule from HHS will ensure that they won't be shut out of Obamacare.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 12:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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