The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010 and is frequently referred to as healthcare reform. The goal of this law is to provide Americans a way to get quality health insurance that they can afford.
ACA started affecting our nation’s health plan system in 2013, with major provisions rolling out in 2014 and 2015.
1. What do I need to know now, with 2104 nearly here?
Starting in 2014, almost all U.S. citizens and legal residents will be required to have health insurance. In some ways it’s like car insurance—everyone is required to purchase auto insurance before registering a vehicle. If you receive coverage through your employer (or your spouses’ employment), generally you don’t need to worry about the requirement. Most group coverage plans meet the minimum requirements.
2. What if I don't have health insurance?
If you do not currently have health insurance, you’ll be pleased to know that there will be affordable insurance options available beginning January 1, 2014, even if you have pre-existing conditions. You’ll be able to compare available plans to enroll in one that fits your needs and budget.
3. How do I find healthcare insurance?
To select a plan, be sure to check out the government’s Open Enrollment process, which begins October 1, 2013. At that time you can work directly with an insurance agent or visit the Health Insurance Marketplace online, sometimes called an “Exchange”, at http://www.healthcare.gov
4. What if I can’t afford health insurance?
You may be able to get a government tax credit which would be applied directly to your monthly premium. If you qualify, this will result in lower monthly payments.
Depending on your income, you may be able to get free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Medicaid is expanding in many states in 2014, meaning you may qualify in 2014 even if you haven't qualified in the past. When you apply, the Marketplace will tell you if you qualify under your state's rules.
5. What if I still don't elect coverage?
If you do not have health insurance in 2014, you may have to pay a penalty on your federal income tax.
October 1, 2013: Open Enrollment begins
December 15, 2013: Enroll by this date for health care coverage effective January 1, 2014s
January 1, 2014: Health coverage begins for new enrollees
March 31st, 2014: Enroll by this date to avoid penalties and taxes
For more information on the ACA or healthcare reform law and how it affects you, visit http://www.LearnAboutReform.com