The Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act & You
Health Care Reform
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare as it is frequently referred to, has four primary goals. They are:
- Provide access to health coverage for millions of Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions who have in the past been denied health insurance;
- Increase competition among insurers and therefore make health insurance more affordable, with greater common benefits such as preventive care and adding younger, healthy people into the mix to spread the risk and costs associated with those risks among a larger pool of subscribers;
- Provide consumers with greater control over which insurance plan they select, rather than being dependent upon whichever plan their employer selects for them;
- Encouraging regular visits with primary care doctors and nurse practitioners and putting great emphasis on preventive services to make nationwide changes that result in healthier lifestyles for all.
There are now dozens of preventive services that are covered fully by insurance plans, requiring no office visit co-pay. Even more fully-covered preventive services will be required by health care reform with the new plans available in the Health Insurance Marketplace. The health care reform law also requires private insurers to continue dependent coverage of children until age 26.
Lower Healthcare Costs for You
Most people using the Marketplace will qualify for lower costs on monthly premiums or lower out-of-pocket costs. To find out how much savings you're eligible for, you'll need to provide income information, like the kind you get on your W-2, current pay stubs, or your tax return.
The “individual mandate” component of the health care reform law requires most uninsured individuals who can afford health insurance to purchase insurance. The penalty for not getting insurance, which applies to most people, in 2014, is one percent (1%) of yearly income or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher.