The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, makes health insurance affordable for individuals across all income levels. Households whose household income falls within 400% of poverty may qualify for federal subsidies to offset their monthly premium costs.
People can sign up for an Affordable Care Act-compliant plan during open enrollment, which runs from November 1 to January 15 (although state exchanges may have different deadlines). They may also sign up during a special enrollment period if they experience qualifying life events like moving or having a baby.
What is Obamacare?
Obamacare (or Affordable Care Act) is a series of health insurance reforms passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. The ACA made numerous modifications to both individual health insurance plans purchased directly by individuals as well as Medicaid – which provides care to low-income Americans – such as restricting preexisting condition exclusion or charging more due to preexisting conditions.
ACA helps make healthcare more affordable by offering subsidies that help cover premium costs. You can still sign up for Obamacare this year through the Affordable Care Act marketplace during Open Enrollment or Special Enrollment Periods (SEP), or keep your plan through COBRA should your job-based insurance be cancelled out.
Can I get a subsidy?
The 2010 health reform law makes affordable and high-quality health insurance available to all Americans through an exchange marketplace. Individuals whose income falls within 400% of poverty qualify for financial help in paying for an ACA plan.
ACA subsidies are calculated based on your estimated income for the coverage year, so if it turns out to be higher than anticipated you may have to return some or all of the advance subsidies you received.
Most Obamacare enrollees opt to have their subsidy paid directly into their health insurance provider each month; other people prefer claiming it as a tax refund upon filing their taxes. Your actual subsidy amount will depend on comparing your income against FPL numbers for that year.
Can I get a short-term policy?
Short-term medical plans (also referred to as temporary health insurance plans) do not comply with ObamaCare requirements and typically focus on catastrophic coverage only; thus excluding maternity, prescription drugs or any ACA mandated benefits like vision and dental.
However, they provide cost effective limited benefit health coverage at a fraction of the price of comprehensive major medical coverage. They can be an economical solution for individuals who need temporary health coverage but do not qualify for cost assistance from ObamaCare, or who missed open enrollment. Unfortunately due to their short terms and lack of consumer protections they do not serve as a suitable replacement for ACA-compliant individual health plans; those looking for such coverage should investigate enrollment opportunities during an open enrollment period instead.
Can I get a job-based health plan?
Employers can offer health insurance compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and employees can select or decline coverage during an employer’s annual open enrollment period. If their job coverage ends due to layoff or other termination, a special enrollment period (SEP) allows them to enroll in marketplace health plans without losing coverage in between.
However, if your job-based insurance provides health benefits that meet minimum value standards and is considered affordable based on your income, premium subsidies on an exchange may not apply to you and it may be more cost effective to remain with an employer’s coverage than switching to individual/family Obamacare plans on the marketplace.
Can I get a new job that offers health insurance?
The 2010 health reform law known as Obamacare or Affordable Care Act has made it easier for more people to gain affordable insurance. It expands Medicaid eligibility and offers cost assistance programs in some states to cover premium costs.
People can enroll in Affordable Care Act-compliant plans through an exchange during open enrollment periods or when experiencing a qualifying life event, through special enrollment periods offered by private insurers that must abide by all ACA requirements.
Anyone in the United States is eligible to purchase marketplace insurance, while those with limited incomes may also qualify for financial assistance to reduce costs. Furthermore, federal law mandates everyone must carry health insurance or face penalties, and some states extend Medicaid programs further towards low-income households.