Health Care FAQ
, FAQ's on Obamacare/ACATurboTax Employee
The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, is the health care law that was signed into law in 2010. The law puts in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will roll out over 4 years and beyond.
The goal of Obamacare is to:
• Increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance
• Decrease the cost of health care
By March 31, 2014, all U.S. residents need to be enrolled in a health insurance plan, with a few exceptions.
Other key points on Obamacare:
• Anyone can get insurance, even if they have pre-existing conditions.
• There is a government subsidy available to help pay for health insurance for people within a certain income range.
• Insurance companies can't refuse to cover people like they used to, and they can't revoke coverage when people get sick.
• People won't be forced to pay extra for insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
The following groups are not required to sign up for health care under the Affordable Care Act: American Indians, prisoners, undocumented immigrants, some religious groups, people whose family income is so low they don't have to file a tax return, and folks covered through Medicaid, Medicare, an employer or veteran's health program.
Health Care Pro
Health care reform – Obamacare – does three major things for you if you’re uninsured or buy your own health insurance, because you don’t get it from an employer:
- First – it changes WHAT types of health insurance products you can buy
- Second – it changes HOW you buy those products
- Third – it changes WHEN you can buy those products
How does Obamacare change what
If the plan you have today, or buy in 2013 does not meet new government standards, you may have to purchase new insurance to avoid tax penalties.
With Obamacare, any new plan you buy in 2014 will cover a minimum of 10 standard, essential benefits
Things like maternity care and prescription drug coverage are standard.
And, Obamacare creates a minimum benefit level for every plan
- So, in 2014, a new metallic rating system will make it easier to tell what level of coverage you’re buying
- All metallic plans must cover at least 60 percent of total average estimated costs for the plan's benefit package.
- Bronze plans cover 60%, while platinum plans cover 90%.
- Catastrophic plans for people under the age of 30 may have lower benefit levels.
How does Obamacare change HOW you buy health insurance?
With Obamacare your medical history can’t be used to decline your application or charge you more for your health insurance.
No more complicated questions about your medical history while you wait – sometimes weeks - to see if your application was approved.
You may be able to get help from the government to pay for your plan in the form of premium tax credits – or subsidies.
And, new state exchanges – or marketplaces like eHealthInsurance – will open up to provide additional places for people to shop for coverage.
How does Obamacare change WHEN you can buy health insurance?
In most states there will be one open enrollment period per year when people who want health insurance are guaranteed to have their application approved.
It may be hard to get approved for coverage outside of the open enrollment period if you don’t have a qualifying event – such as
- the loss of a job,
- the birth of a child,
- a marriage
- or a move to a new coverage area.
If you miss open enrollment and go uninsured for more than three months in a row, Obamacare can impose a tax penalty on you STARTING IN 2014