What is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010; The Affordable Care Act, or ACA for short, was signed into law on March 23, 2010 to reform health care in America. The new health care law includes reforms to the affordability, quality, and availability of health insurance and new cost cutting measures, rules, and regulations for both public and private health insurance companies and the health care industry. Here are some quick Affordable Care Act facts to help you understand what the program does. You can also check out our more comprehensive list of ObamaCare Facts or get a summary of each provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which includes the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Acts, was enacted in order to amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The ACA itself amends a number of different laws including the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act and calls for additional rules that have been incrementally released since the ACA was signed into law. When we talk about “ObamaCare” or the Affordable Care Act we are referring to the new law, the laws that amend it, the laws it amends, new rules, and changes to the law.

Affordable Care Act Facts: What Does the Affordable Care Act Do?

The Health Care Reform laid out in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aims to greatly increase the amount of Americans who have access to affordable health insurance. This is done, in part, by expanding Medicaid to Americas poorest, providing tax credits to small employers who cover their employees, providing tax credits to individuals who need help paying for insurance, reforming the health care industry to reign in excess spending, taxing higher earners and the health care industry and opening up State-based, competitive, regulated, online health insurance exchanges (AKA marketplaces) where individuals can buy insurance and receive cost-assistance.

The new healthcare laws contains close to 400 different provisions. Many of the provisions are rarely talked about in the media but are working wonders. Check out a summary of each provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

What is the Purpose of the Affordable Care Act?

You may have heard of the “healthcare crisis”. The truth is the American healthcare system has been growing at an unsustainable rate and many Americans and businesses have been being priced out of being able to afford care for them and their families. Even Americans who had insurance were finding themselves dropped from coverage when their share of the costs became to great and finding they had little to no rights if they did get dropped. If the “crisis” were not addressed it was projected to bankrupt the country incrementally and exponentially year after year.

The Affordable Care Act makes health insurance coverage more secure and reliable for Americans who have it, makes coverage more affordable for families and small business owners, and brings down skyrocketing healthcare costs that have put a strain on individuals, families, employers, and our Federal budget.  Below are some of main objectives of the Affordable Care Act. By 2014 provisions will be in place that address each of the following goals. So far each provision has be successful in meeting its objective:

• Help create State-based health insurance Exchanges that will increase purchasing power, reduce administrative expenses, and increase competition to make premiums more affordable.

• Provide subsidized coverage through health insurance Exchanges to people who cannot afford to purchase insurance on their own.

• Increase the number of young adults under age 26 who are covered as a dependent on their parent’s employer-sponsored insurance policy.

• Expand Medicaid coverage to more low-income Americans. A whole title of the law focuses on Medicaid reform.

• Reduce the prescription drug coverage gap (“donut hole”) for those receiving the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit. A whole title of the law focuses on Medicare reform.

• Reforming the pharmaceutical industry to prevent monopolies and protect consumers. A whole title of the law addresses pharmaceutical industry reform.

• Ensure access to health insurance and protect against unaffordable out-of-pocket costs by prohibiting insurers from placing lifetime limits on medical care,  prohibiting insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and prohibiting discriminatory premium rates based on health status or gender.

• Prohibit insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick and ensure more consumer protections and rights when appealing insurance company decisions.

• Establish the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan Program to provide affordable insurance for Americans who are uninsured, have a pre-existing condition; and have been without coverage for at least six months. This temporary pool protects those with pre-existing conditions until they can be covered in 2014.

• Work with States to establish a rate review process that identifies and remedies unreasonable rate increases by health insurance plans.

• Operate a fully-accessible health insurance website, HealthCare.gov, that empowers consumers by increasing informed choice and promoting market competition.

• Require insurance companies to spend the majority of health insurance premiums on medical care, not on profits and overhead.

• Work with tribes, HHS tribal advisory bodies, and other tribal and urban Indian groups and programs to provide outreach, information, and assistance to assure that AI/ANs, and the entities that serve them, are aware of and able to use the benefits available under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and other Indian-specific and generally applicable provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

The truth is the Affordable Care Act contains a lot of provisions (around 400 in all) that we don’t talk about because they only affect small cross sections of the population or address very technical (i.e. boring to the media) problems. If you want a further understanding of what is wrong with the current U.S. healthcare system and how Health and Human Services and the Affordable Care Act are working together to improve American health care check out the official HHS site.

obamacare-billAffordable Health Care & Affordable Health Insurance

The Affordable Care Act requires that all Americans who have access to affordable health insurance obtain “minimum essential coverage” by 2014 (or pay a tax if they choose to opt out). Affordable health insurance is defined as costing 8% or less of annual income after subsidies. The Affordable Care Act also reforms the Medicare and Medicaid to make that coverage more affordable, and creates many reforms that affect spending in the healthcare industry outside of health insurance.

Additional Details on The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates that insurance plans cover preventive services to help people stay healthy, prohibits insurance companies from dropping your coverage if you get sick, prevents billing people into bankruptcy because of annual or lifetime limits placed on care, and discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions. Regardless of your stance on ObamaCare, most of us can agree on these basic rights when it comes to health care.

Part of understanding Obamacare is understanding the Affordable Care Act and of course the best way to understand the Affordable Care Act is to take the time to read it for yourself. Don’t just listen to the main stream, make up your own mind about Obama Care and the Affordable Care Act. Read The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in its Entirety Right Here!

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will help provide insurance to about 40 million Americans without health insurance by 2019. Most of the funding will come from reforming current healthcare overspending on programs that don’t work and new taxes on those who can afford them.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Summary

Summary Coverage Offered by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Since President Barack Obama signed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010 a number of healthcare reforms have been implemented offering new provisions and new mandates in regards to the American Healthcare system. The following summary includes only part of the coverage offered under ObamaCare (AKA the Affordable Care Act).

• Most Americans, who can afford to, will be required to have health insurance starting in 2014, pay a per month fee on their tax returns, or get an exemption.

• Americans who cannot obtain affordable health care through employer coverage will be able to purchase insurance through a Health Insurance Exchange with premium and cost-sharing credits available to low-to-middle income Americans who cannot afford health insurance on their own. The cost of providing those who cannot afford health insurance will come from new taxes and cuts to wasteful spending occurring as relics of the healthcare system prior to the Affordable Care Act.

• In 2015 employers with over 50 full-time equivalent workers will pay penalties for employees that they do not cover. This, in most cases, will not raise the costs that the businesses currently pay providing health insurance to employees, although it may have minimal costs for those companies who currently do not provide health insurance to their employees.

• Regulations under the Affordable Care Act will prevent health insurance companies from denying coverage for any reason or changing a higher premium based on health or gender.

• Medicaid will be expanded to 138% of the federal poverty level ($15,856 for an individual and $32,499 for

a family of four by 2014) for all individuals under age 65. Many States have opted-out of Medicaid expansion so make sure to check if your State is participating.

• Around 40 Million Americans who currently do not have health insurance are projected to have coverage by 2019.

• The amount the Affordable Care act saves by cutting costs from health care programs that aren’t working is estimated to reduce the national deficit by $124 billion by 2019.

The Affordable Care Act 2014 and Beyond

The Affordable Care Act will continue to trickle out HealthCare reform until 2020. The affordable insurance exchanges opened on Oct, 1st 2013 and offer affordable health insurance and subsidies to low and middle income families and small businesses during each years annual open enrollment period. The ACA is already offering a number of protections and benefits to all Americans. Find out more about what the Affordable Care Act has to offer in our Health Care Reform Timeline.

 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Facts
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