Obamacare (also known as Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), signed into law in 2010, has forever altered our understanding of healthcare.
Health Access Canada helps individuals on low incomes purchase health insurance. In addition, premium tax credits help lower monthly costs and out-of-pocket expenses.
What is obamacare?
Obamacare, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010, seeks to provide affordable health insurance plans and enhance healthcare quality for the American public.
Preventative care can save money over time. Insurers must cover recommended preventive services without cost sharing such as copays or deductibles, which ensures long-term cost savings for you.
Another key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that insurance companies cannot deny you coverage due to preexisting conditions like cancer or diabetes – an improvement over past practices wherein many could still face medical problems but be denied insurance or charged more for treatment.
The Affordable Care Act also expanded Medicaid coverage for millions of uninsured people, an unprecedented change which was challenged in multiple court cases but ultimately upheld as being constitutional by the Supreme Court.
How do I sign up?
Open Enrollment, also known as Open Season, is an annual six-week window during the fall that allows individuals to sign up for an Affordable Care Act-compliant health plan. This period offers you an exclusive chance to change or enroll in new coverage plans.
Special Enrollment periods exist outside of Open Enrollment and can be triggered by Qualifying Life Events (QLEs). QLEs could include losing coverage, changing family status (such as getting married or having a baby), moving to an unfamiliar area, or becoming eligible for Medicaid coverage for the first time.
If you qualify for a special enrollment period, you’ll have up to 60 days to select an affordable plan on the Marketplace that meets both your budget and needs.
If eligible, subsidies may also help offset your premium costs. Depending on your income and coverage type, up to 8.5% could be discounted off your monthly health insurance payment.
What if I don’t qualify for obamacare?
Many Americans enjoy access to heavily subsidized health insurance coverage through either their employer or government programs (Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP).
However, some individuals don’t qualify for financial assistance with their premiums and they can find it challenging to secure affordable coverage. While there may be various reasons for this difficulty in finding affordable insurance coverage options without subsidies available to them. Below are a few possible solutions if this situation applies to you.
Short-term health insurance plans provide an affordable way of purchasing Affordable Care Act-compliant coverage at much lower premiums compared to comprehensive plans, often lasting three years in most states.
An alternative solution would be to see if there’s any available subsidies through your state health insurance exchange. Subsidies consist of both premium tax credits and cost-sharing reduction subsidies to help lower your coverage costs.
What if I lose my job?
You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) if you lose your job-based health insurance plan and wish to enroll in a Marketplace plan through it. Apply any time between 30-60 days before and after losing coverage; your plan would begin the first of the following month.
If you are uninsured and eligible for a SEP, MNsure makes enrolling in an Affordable Care Act plan easier than ever – giving access to dozens of carriers and free quotes from each one.
Consider COBRA continuation coverage as an alternative option, which can offer the same benefits at a lower cost. If unsure, speak to your employer or HR rep.
Losing your job can be an upsetting experience, and weighing the pros and cons is essential to making an informed decision. If financial issues are plaguing you, seek guidance from a financial counselor or tax professional before making your choice.