Health Reform and You
There are a number of provisions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that have recently gone into effect, or will go into effect in the near future. A mandate requiring that all legal U.S. residents obtain health insurance coverage began 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 is being expanded in approving states under the ACA. Also, uninsured people now 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 impacts 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 marketplaces, Medicaid expansion, financial assistance and the impact of health reform on businesses, follow the links below.
Health Insurance Marketplaces
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 marketplaces, plans compete with each other, ideally providing consumers with the most competitive premiums. The open enrollment period for the 2015 benefit year begins on Nov. 15, 2014 and extends through Feb. 15, 2015.
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 to expand their Medicaid programs under the act. In approving states, uninsured people who qualify for enrollment under the expansion of Medicaid have access to extended health coverage.
To help with compliance under the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, a significant number of Americans are eligible for financial assistance through the ACA. Consumers can learn about the assistance they qualify for so they can receive the greatest financial help toward buying health insurance coverage.
The Affordable Care Act 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. This provision is effective for large employers in 2015. Businesses with between 50 and 99 employees will have until 2016 to phase in coverage for their employees.
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 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).