Health Reform and You
There are a number of provisions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will go into effect soon. A mandate requiring that all legal U.S. residents obtain health insurance coverage begins Jan. 1, 2014, for example, and a mandate that large employers provide health insurance to their employees begins in 2015.
Additionally, the government’s Medicaid program will be expanded in approving states under the ACA. Also, uninsured people will have access to health insurance through state- or federally-operated online insurance marketplaces, or “exchanges.” For those who qualify, the law makes financial assistance available to purchase health insurance.
The ACA will impact groups differently depending on their current status of health insurance coverage, such as whether they are uninsured or already covered under an employer’s insurance plan, other private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.
Changes Under the Affordable Care Act
Watch the video below from the Kaiser Family Foundation for information about changes under the Affordable Care Act.
For more information about the Affordable Care Act, insurance exchanges, Medicaid expansion, financial assistance and the impact of health reform on businesses, follow the links below.
Health Insurance Exchanges
Beginning October 2013, health insurance marketplaces, or “exchanges,” are available online, by phone, or through a person trained and certified to help you enroll in a plan. In the exchanges, plans compete with each other, ideally providing consumers with the most competitive premiums. Open enrollment starts Oct. 1, 2013 and coverage takes effect Jan. 1, 2014.
A key provision of the ACA is the expansion of Medicaid, a government health insurance program for low-income people, to those earning up to 138 percent of federal poverty guidelines. States have the ability to choose whether they will expand their Medicaid programs under the act. In approving states, uninsured people who qualify for enrollment under the expansion of Medicaid will have access to extended health coverage.
To help with compliance under the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, a significant number of Americans will be eligible for financial assistance beginning in 2014. Consumers can learn about the assistance they qualify for so they can receive the greatest financial help toward buying health insurance coverage.
The ACA includes a number of provisions that pertain to employers. One mandate requires businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to provide health insurance coverage or pay a penalty. The effective date of this mandate has recently been moved by the federal government to 2015. Also, there are penalties for employers who are not providing insurance that meets minimum coverage levels, and if their employees are insured but qualify for savings by using the insurance exchange in their state.
Please follow the links below for additional information about how the Affordable Care Act changes will affect you.
The Value of Insurance
Download a fact sheet about health insurance (from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).
Guide to the ACA
Refer to this Guide to the Affordable Care Act for more background on the law (from Politico).
ACA and Seniors
Learn the top five things that seniors will need to know about the Affordable Care Act (from HealthCare.gov).
ACA Implementation Timeline
View an implementation timeline for ACA provisions (from Kaiser Family Foundation).
Obtain more helpful consumer resources related to health reform (from Kaiser Family Foundation).