Obamacare/ACA questions regarding the federal exchanges

My state will not have its own exchange, but will use the federal ones starting October 1.

Here’s my situation. My employer pays 100% of premiums for my health insurance (out of pocket $400/mo), however he contributes nothing to the premiums for my daughter. I pay around $250/mo for her.

I understand that nobody knows what the prices will be on the exchanges, but let’s say they start and I could get a better deal there (And my employer has said that if this happens, he would gladly just pay me the $400 in cash for me to buy my own health insurance).

  1. Am I even eligible to buy insurance on the exchanges since it is offered to me through my employment at reasonable cost?

  2. Is my daughter eligible to buy insurance on the exchange, even though it is offered to me, I’m paying the whole bill?

  3. If my boss pays the health insurance, it is a tax free benefit. If I buy on the exchange is it also tax free? If not, why not? That puts the exchanges at a 15-20% disadvantage right off the bat (depending on your tax rate).

So, basically I pay $650/month for me and my daughter. If the exchanges are offering a similar plan for, say $550, what are the pitfalls I need to look out for?

I would start here, but I don’t think prices and plan details will be public until October 1.

The tax advantage for employer provided healthcare is unfortunate for those of us who purchase our own. Make it a level playing field does not seem to be politically feasible at this time. They may have tried during the creation of the ACA, but not very hard. It is one of those "Third rails" that neither party will touch.

Healthcare.gov has a toll-free help line or online chat to answer questions.