Obamacare Facts – What You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act

Obamacare Facts – What You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, has provided millions of Americans access to affordable healthcare coverage; yet its opponents often misinform about it and leave many citizens confused.

The Affordable Care Act protects all Americans from discrimination and provides coverage to those with preexisting conditions; additionally, insurance companies cannot charge women more for coverage. Furthermore, Medicaid expansion was made available in 27 states plus D.C.

Pre-existing conditions

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) prevents insurers from denying coverage or charging more for pre-existing conditions that existed prior to being insured, such as mental illness. This protection includes mental illnesses that developed before you had coverage.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), people in the individual market often faced being denied coverage or having their premiums skyrocket due to health. Insurance providers would then often use experience rating to estimate someone’s overall risk by looking at their medical history when setting premium prices.

Studies estimate that prior to the ACA, approximately 27% of non-elderly adults in the US had declinable conditions that would have disqualified them for individual health insurance policies; however, these estimates may not accurately represent all populations covered via employer sponsored health plans in terms of individual market participation.

Coverage for young adults

Since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, millions of young adults have had access to health coverage. This may come through their parent’s plan, health insurance exchanges or Medicaid.

Young adults may opt to purchase their own coverage. There are various options available, including employer-based plans or high deductible health plans (HDHPs).

Some young adults may see their premiums increase as a result of the Affordable Care Act’s age rating and market reform provisions, however these increases should remain relatively small due to federal subsidies helping pay for health care and grandfathered plans exempt from these reforms.

Coverage for children

Becoming a parent can be an incredible journey and, once pregnant, can have major ramifications on your health insurance coverage. Therefore, it is crucial that you research all available options under Obamacare to you so you can secure coverage for both yourself and your offspring.

Coverage for children is generally available all year through federal programs such as CHIP and Medicaid, providing free or low-cost healthcare when they need it – including emergency care services.

Families that do not qualify for CHIP or Medicaid still have options for child-only insurance coverage, including short-term and fixed-payment plans which offer some financial security in emergencies but don’t provide all of the same benefits that traditional plans would. Also, these plans may not accept individuals with preexisting conditions as policyholders.

Tax credits

The Affordable Care Act offers families refundable tax credits to purchase health insurance through state and federal Marketplaces, often leading to lower premiums for households enrolled in “Silver” plans.

Refundable tax credits are significantly more valuable than nonrefundable ones as they reduce your taxes by dollar for dollar owed – meaning if you owe $5,000, a $2,000 credit could reduce that bill down to zero!

Advance payments of premium tax credits are sent directly to insurance companies each month, helping reduce out-of-pocket expenses for many families. Each fall, however, the government reviews these advance payments to make sure they still apply to your circumstances – for instance if household income drops or someone joins your household, this could result in more premium tax credit being available than was initially being given out.

Tax penalties

The Affordable Care Act’s tax penalties have been repealed for most non-insured residents, though some states still require residents to pay a fee should they not have health coverage.

Dependent upon your state, penalties could reach up to half of the lowest priced plan offered through ConnectorCare health insurance exchange.

Studies indicate that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) mandate penalty has reduced uninsurance rates significantly; researchers discovered this impact to be particularly evident among younger individuals.

Research also indicates that tax credits may not be as effective at reducing uninsurance than individual mandate penalties, likely due to their design; only paying part of premiums increases with income sensitivity, making enrollees insensitive to premium increases.

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About the Author: Raymond Donovan