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Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Affordable Care Act affect me?

The new law requires that everyone have qualified health insurance, or pay a penalty as part of your tax return.

When is the next open enrollment?

The next open enrollment begins on November 1st 2017, ending on January 31st, 2018. However, you will need to enroll by December 15th if you want your new health plan to become effective on January 1st, 2018.

Can I get enrolled outside of Open Enrollment?

Maybe. Outside of the open enrollment period, you can enroll or change your coverage only if you have lost coverage to a situation known as a qualifying event. For example, getting married, having a baby, or losing coverage because you lose your job. During this Special Enrollment Period, you’ll have 60 days from the date of the qualify event to change, or apply for health care coverage.

Am I really required to have health insurance?

Yes, unless you are an exempt American, you will need to get and retain qualifying coverage. Otherwise, you will be subject to a penalty as part of your tax return.

How much is the penalty for not having coverage?

The penalty in 2016 is 2.5% of family income, or $695 per adult ($347.50 per child under 18, or up to $2,085 for a family), whichever is greater. After 2016, penalties will rise with the cost of living. The penalty will be paid as part of your annual federal income tax return.

What is the argument for getting covered instead of paying the penalty?

The penalty is not really called a penalty, it is a “shared responsibility payment” or the “free rider payment”, and there is “no criminal prosecution for failure to pay, and no assessment of tax levies or property liens”. However, the penalty will be assessed on your Federal tax return, and avoiding that hassle is probably worth the price of insurance. The penalty may not seem huge, so in the very short term, paying the penalty maybe cheaper than buying health insurance. But we have been in this business a long time, and can tell you that eventually we all need health care, so it may not work out for you in the long run. Besides, having health insurance is not such a bad thing…

What if someday I just pay the penalty when I decide to get covered?

You can do this, but to get covered again you must wait to enroll during the open-enrollment period each Fall, and then coverage won’t take effect until the following January. So if you suddenly want to get covered, you may have to wait a while.

I don't have health insurance, what do I do?

Under the new law, you may have to pay a tax penalty if you don’t have a qualifying health plan in place. To avoid further penalties, you’ll need to get enrolled in a health plan during the next open enrollment season. This website has all the information that you need to get enrolled. But remember, if you would rather speak to someone, please call us, we are here to help.

Can I get help paying for health insurance?

Maybe. Health insurance is expensive, and even those in the middle class could use a little help. Call us, and we can help determine if you qualify for financial assistance.

Why use the JA Health Insurance Services for enrollment?

We have been serving the Japanese American community for over 50 years, and a portion of operating income is used for programs that benefit the Japanese American community. Our stuff are licensed insurance agents but not paid commissions, and there are no additional costs for our services. In September 2015, we also formed the JA Community Foundation a non-profit corporation which benefits other non-profit organizations in the JA community.

What is a Flexible Purpose Corporation?

A Flexible Purpose Corporation’s that may pursue both economic and social objectives. To prevent “mission drift” an FPC must state its special purpose in its articles of incorporation, which are filed with the State of California. The JA Health Benefits FPC was formed on April 23, 2013.

How do you plan to support the community?

A portion of the operating income is for programs that benefit the Japanese-American community, or the extended Asian-American community. As well as provide grants to non-profits in the JA Community.

Do you still support the JACL?

Of course, we were born out of the JACL and we still support their good work, as well as continue to support them in our philanthropic activities.

I'll be turning age 65 soon. What plans are available?

Congratulations! You can begin to save money on health coverage now that you are eligible for Original Medicare, but you should know that Medicare is just a start, and was never designed to cover everything. There are a wide range of Medicare Supplement plans that help fill the gaps in Original Medicare. We can help you find a plan that best suits your budget and needs.

I'm a small business, how does the new health care law affect me?

You are not required to provide health insurance to your employees if you do not already do so. However, you’ll need to buy health insurance for yourself, and your employees will have to buy it for themselves.


JA Health Insurance Services
180 Grand Avenue, Suite 1530
Oakland, CA 94612
Ph: 1.800.400.6633

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