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The Basics of The Affordable Care Act

With all of the changes in the insurance industry in the last 5 years understanding the Affordable Care Act, the changes it has made and the new Marketplace health insurance plans can be daunting. Here are some basics about the Affordable Care Act that you should be aware of.affordable-care-act-official-logo

  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was written into law March 23, 2010.  It is also referred to as The Affordable Care Act, Health Care Reform and Obamacare.
  • Insurance policies that were already in force before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was written into law are “grandfathered” and are not affected by many of the changes made by the Affordable Care Act’s reforms.
  • The Affordable Care Act set minimum standards of coverage for insurance policies. Some of the most notable changes in coverage are:
    • Insurance companies must offer those with pre-existing conditions the same rates as those without.
    • Children can remain covered on their parent’s insurance coverage until age 26.
    • Many preventative care services must be covered now, for some they are free.
    • Contraception and sterilization services must be covered, except by religious institutions that are exempted.
    • Mental health services in some cases are covered.
  •  Companies with 50 or more employees must offer those who work full-time (30+ hours a week) health insurance or face tax penalties if they do not.
  • Individuals who do not have health insurance coverage are required to purchase it or they may also face a tax penalty.  These penalties are scheduled to increase each year until 2020 when the ACA regulations will reach full-implementation.
  • Those of low-income status or those below the poverty line are in many cases eligible for tax subsidies which cover part or in some cases all of the premium cost of a Marketplace insurance policy.
  • States were given the option to expand Medicaid therefore receiving additional federal aid in order to cover the additional cost burden to State funds.  Most states in the south and some in the Midwest rejected to option to expand their Medicaid coverage.
  • Marketplace plans, although facilitated through the government exchanges, is provided through established private insurance carriers.  As a result the companies, rates and availability in each state varies.
*Due to changes in the insurance industry as a result of Affordable Care Act regulation IHS Insurance Group is no longer able to offer Marketplace Health Plans.  Please see our “Resources” tab and click the link to the healthcare.gov website if you care to apply.

E. Steele

 

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