What Is Obamacare?
Obamacare is formally referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and was conceived and enacted by President Barack Obama back in 2010. The aim of the ACA is to provide all Americans with the opportunity to access affordable health care. Since President Donald Trump assumed power in January 2017, he has repeatedly threatened to dismantle it. Numerous attempts in Congress failed to fully repeal and replace the bill, meaning the Affordable Care Act shall continue to endure, but its future is definitely in jeopardy.
HOW DOES OBAMACARE WORK?
Under Obamacare, insurance companies are required to offer health care to all Americans. The act made it illegal for insurers to reject individuals based on pre-existing conditions or their current health status. The main reason why Obamacare plans are affordable is due to the fact the federal government siphons money every month to major insurance companies. This money (which is formally called cost-sharing-reduction payments) collectively reduce insurance premiums for millions of Americans, therefore making health care plans affordable.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT SUBSIDIES FOR INDIVIDUALS AND COMPANIES
The Affordable Care Act offers provides subsidies for individuals and families, which means more Americans can afford to purchase health insurance. Through the marketplace, you can evaluate a variety of insurance plans what insurance plans, and see if you qualify for a subsidy, which will come in the form of a tax break or a refund. Premiums are based on a sliding scale, depending upon your income. Companies can also receive subsidies or tax breaks. For small companies who have 50 or fewer full-time employees who make an average of under $50,000 a year, the SHOP or Small Business Health Options Program was started. This gives a small business the opportunity to purchase a group health plan and see if they qualify for tax credits to help them absorb some of the costs of health insurance. Larger companies with less than 100 full-time employees will be able to take advantage of the SHOP in 2016.
Obamacare Insurance Varieties
Just as with anything, health insurance is not a one size fits all type of business. Due to this, the marketplace offers insurance coverage from several different companies. To find the plan that is right for you and your family, it is necessary for you to evaluate your own health care needs, as well as medications, conditions, etc., as well as consider the premium amounts to see if they fit into your budget. Look at the quality as far as customer service as well. Do a search for reviews and then put in the name(s) of the companies that you are considering to see how they stack up against each other. All of these considerations should be taken together to allow you to find the proper coverage for you and your family.
Individuals who want to purchase an Obamacare plan can only do so during the Open Enrollment Period. For 2018, Open Enrollment begins on November 1, 2017 and ends on December 15, 2017. This means citizens have exactly 45 days to properly shop and compare prices on the marketplace.
HOW TO SIGN UP FOR OBAMACARE
This depends entirely on your state, as some have created a state-based marketplace, while the majority rely on the federally facilitated one. In regards to the latter, most states use HealthCare.gov.
Starting this last tax year, if you do not purchase insurance, whether from your employer, on your own or through the Affordable Care Act website, you are penalized. This penalty cannot exceed 1% of your household income or $95 per person over 18 and $47.50 for each child under 18. These amounts are for the 2014 Tax filings only, as of 2015, these penalties will increase to 2% or $325 per person and $162.50 per child under 18. They will continue to increase for a couple of years to try to push people into getting coverage. It is important to also note that companies will be penalized for not offering insurance to their employees beginning in 2015 if they have more than 50 full-time employees. They must offer it to 70% of their employees, as well as their dependents, in 2015, 95% by 2016, or pay a fee. If employers do not offer affordable insurance to their employees, they are to pay an Employer Shared Responsibility payment per employee, which can quickly add up, depending on the number of employees that they have.
OBAMACARE INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS
If you currently have an insurance plan via your employer, it has to meet certain insurance requirements that have been laid out in the Affordable Care Act. Here are the main requirements: Coverage cannot be denied due to pre-existing conditions, while premium variations can only be due to age, tobacco use, family size, and geography. This removes the variations due to pre-existing conditions, health status, claims history, etc Guaranteed Renewability of Coverage means that an insurance company cannot refuse to renew coverage due to illness or pre-existing condition Catastrophic Plan changes include making sure they have lower premiums, protecting against high-pocket costs, and covering preventative services without cost sharing. Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act have many benefits for those who do not currently have insurance, work at a company that does not offer it, or simply cannot afford it. When you go to the health insurance marketplace, you will find that there are many different options for you and your family. By evaluating each of the plans and the companies that issue them, you can ensure that you make the right choice for you and your family.