Over the past several years, there have been many discussions and debates regarding health care reform in the United States. With the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many things have changed for Americans in terms of how they can obtain their health insurance coverage, and in turn, how they receive their health care overall.
Just as with any type of change, though, there can also be many questions. It can be difficult to determine which way to turn in terms of knowing how the new program will work, and what will be the right course of action for you. Having a good understanding of what Obamacare is and how it will affect your personal health care going forward will help.
What is Obamacare?
Although the official name for the new health care legislation is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the “unofficial” name for these new rules is Obamacare. The primary focus of these laws is to provide more Americans with access to affordable health care insurance, as well as improving the quality of health care that is received, improving the health insurance that is purchased, providing better regulation of the overall health insurance industry, and reducing the amount that people have to spend on their health care in the United States.
In trying to get such regulations enforced, some of the key movements of Obamacare have been to set up Health Insurance Marketplaces. Through these Marketplaces, Americans are able to purchase health insurance coverage that is federally regulated and subsidized. Individuals can make these health insurance purchases during an open enrollment period.
Each of the states will have its own Marketplace, and each Marketplace will help individuals and families to shop for care that may assist them in lowering premiums and / or reducing their out-of-pocket costs. For those who earn less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, it may be possible to qualify for cost assistance on health insurance through the Marketplace.
Will You Qualify for Coverage?
One of the biggest keys to the Obamacare legislation is that health insurance companies will now be required to accept all applicants for coverage. This includes those who may have adverse health conditions such as cancer or diabetes and may not otherwise have qualified. Because of this change, many people who have pre-existing conditions and who would never before been able to qualify for a health insurance policy will now be able to have coverage – and in turn, will be able to obtain the health care that they need.
What If You Do Not Purchase Health Insurance?
While there are many advantages to the Obamacare legislation, the new regulations also mandate that as of January 1, 2014, all Americans must have health care coverage. Those who do not will be required to pay a penalty. This monetary fine will be added to their tax bill by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) at the end of the year. For the 2014 tax year, the amount of this penalty for adults will be either $95 or 1 percent of their annual income – whichever is greater. The penalty amount for children is one-half of the adult amount.
It is important to note that even if an individual has health insurance coverage but then drops their policy or loses coverage for three months or more, he or she will still be liable for paying the penalty as if they did not have coverage.
When Can You Enroll in Obamacare?
In 2014, the initial open enrollment period for signing up for health insurance through Obamacare ended on March 31. However, open enrollment for the 2015 year is scheduled to begin on November 15, 2014. This open enrollment period will last until February 15, 2015. For those who enroll by December 15, 2014, coverage will begin on January 1, 2015.
There are also some individuals who may qualify to enroll for Obamacare through a special enrollment period. This means that if you missed the deadline for enrolling earlier in 2014, you may still have options for enrolling in the coverage that you need. Certain life events may qualify you for a special enrollment period, such as changing or losing your job, moving to a new area, or a change in your family’s size.
Those who qualify for certain programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicaid are allowed to enroll in their coverage at any time because there is no open enrollment period for these particular programs.
Alternatively, you may also be able to purchase a private health plan on a short term basis. Although these types of health insurance policies are not required to meet the rules and regulations of the Affordable Care Act in terms of affordability and avoiding the fee for not having health care coverage, they can help to provide coverage for your health care expenses and needs until you are able to apply for coverage through the Marketplace during the next open enrollment period.
Where to Find Top Quality and Affordable Health Insurance Coverage
In order to find a private health insurance plan that fits your specific needs, we can help. We work with many of the top health insurance carriers in the nation, and we can help you to find the plan that best works for you. We can also help you to compare plan features and premium rates, all from your home computer within seconds, and without ever having to meet in person with an insurance agent. In order to get the process started, simply Click Here.
If you should have any questions along the way regarding health insurance policies or benefits, how to obtain health insurance quotes, or regarding any other related matter, our experts are available to take you call. Please feel free to contact us directly, toll-free, at 864-491-5785 and we will be sure to get you the answers that you need to address all of your important health care insurance questions or concerns. We want to ensure that you obtain the right coverage at the right price for you.