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What is ObamaCare / What is Obama Care?
What is ObamaCare / What is Health Care Reform?
You've heard of ObamaCare, but what is ObamaCare exactly? ObamaCare (also known as Health Care reform) is a national health care plan aimed at reforming the American health care system. ObamaCare's main focus is on providing more Americans with access to affordable health insurance, improving the quality of health care and health insurance, regulating the health insurance industry, and reducing health care spending in the US.
What is ObamaCare?: ObamaCare is the unofficial name for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Obamacare's health care reform does a number of important things including offering Americans a number of new benefits, rights, and protections in regards to their healthcare and setting up a Health Insurance Marketplace where Americans can purchase Federally regulated and subsidized health insurance.
(What is ObamaCare? President Obama Portrait Public Domain by WhiteHouse.org)
The Politics of ObamaCare
President Obama may have signed the Affordable Care Act into law, but the truth is ObamaCare is the result of decades of ideas from both sides of the isle and the health care industry. The idea of an individual mandate was first presented by current opponents of the law the Heritage Foundation in 1989. ObamaCare itself was in fact modeled after "Romney Care", which is the nickname for the health care reform law implemented in the State of Massachusetts by then Governor Mitt Romney.
ObamaCare: What is it, and What Does it Mean to American Health Care?
So what is ObamaCare and what does it mean to you? There are really only a few things you need to know about the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act contains over a thousand pages of reforms to the insurance industry and the health care industry in order to cut health care costs and to provide affordable health insurance to all Americans. Despite it's length and complexity, most of the important reforms are contained within the first 140 pages. Check out our summary of the many titles and sections of the Affordable Care Act.
Before the law you could be denied coverage or treatment because you had been sick in the past, be charged more because you were a woman, be dropped mid-treatment for making a simple mistake on your application, and had little or no way to fight insurance company appeals. Today all Americans have access to a large number of unprecedented new benefits, rights, and protections.
As of 2013 there are around 44 million Americans who are unable to get health insurance. The majority of uninsured are poor working families and those who simply cannot afford health insurance. One of the major things ObamaCare does is help these individuals to get health insurance through expanding Medicaid and Medicare and offering cost assistance through health insurance marketplaces.
• Most Americans will have to have health insurance by January 1st, 2014 or pay a fee on their year-end taxes. Many Americans will be eligible for subsidized health insurance costing anywhere from 0% - 9.5% of their taxable income. Subsidized insurance can be purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
The following video contains a short description of what ObamaCare is and what you need to know for 2013:
What is the ObamaCare Health Insurance Marketplace?
The health insurance marketplace (also known as an exchange) is an online price comparison website where Americans can shop for affordable quality insurance that starts as soon as Jan 1st, 2014 and receive cost assistance for lower premiums, reduced out-of-pocket costs, or even Medicaid. Each State has their own health insurance marketplace, find your State's Health Insurance Marketplace Now.
Those making under 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL) may qualify for cost assistance through the marketplace. 400% of the federal poverty level is roughly $46,000 for individuals and $93,500 for families. Cost assistance is only available through your State's marketplace. Find out more about what ObamaCare will cost you.
Open enrollment for the ObamaCare Health Insurance Marketplace is from October 1st, 2013 to March 31st, 2014. You can apply today at healthcare.gov and see if you are eligible for financial assistance for lower premiums or reduced out-of-pocket costs, or even Medicaid (Medicaid eligibility is expanded in many States). Insurance purchased before December 23rd, 2013 starts as soon as January 1st 2014.
What Does President Obama Want Us to Understand About ObamaCare?
President Obama explains that most of the 85% of Americans with health insurance are already experiencing the bulk of what the program has to offer and have been for the past 3 years. The individual mandate, employer mandate and health insurance marketplace will affect a percentage of uninsured Americans or those who don't like their insurance.
That being said new essential health benefits and preventative services at no out-of-pocket costs, mandatory coverage for pre-existing conditions, the elimination of annual limits, and more kicks in starting 2014 on all plans without a grandfathered status.
What Does ObamaCare Do?
Now that we know what ObamaCare is, it's time to find out what the new Health Care Reform Bill does. Here are some of the most important aspects of the law:
ObamaCare improves the quality of care that Americans receive by providing better preventative and wellness services and raising the standards of basic health care coverage.
• ObamaCare eliminates pre-existing conditions and gender discrimination meaning no one can be charged more or be dropped from their health insurance coverage for health or gender related reasons.
ObamaCare gives tens of millions of low-income and middle-income Americans access to quality health care by providing discounts through the Health Insurance Marketplace (also known as a Health Insurance Exchange). Find out exactly what the Health Insurance Marketplace is, and how it works.
Although the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) was signed into law in 2010, the health care reforms it enacts roll out year by year until 2022. Many of the biggest reforms don't kick in until 2014. Find Out More About ObamaCare Benefits and Services.
ObamaCare helps to ensure that health care coverage is available to any legal U.S. resident who cannot otherwise obtain "quality" healthcare through their employer. Your access to health care is no longer in the hands of health insurance companies.
ObamaCare gives American employers with over 50 full-time equivalent employees the choice between providing insurance that meets the standards of ObamaCare or paying a penalty. This penalty helps to offset the cost of employees who aren't covered through their employer to purchase insurance through the public health insurance exchanges instead of using emergency services.
Employers with less than the equivalent of 25 full-time equivalent employees may qualify for tax credits, tax breaks and other assistance for insuring employees through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
ObamaCare increases consumer protections. These help to protect you from being dropped while sick, denied care due to lifetime limits, denied care for pre-existing conditions, and offers Americans a better legal standing against health insurance companies.
Unless you make over $200k individual / $250k as a family or small business you are exempt from almost every tax ObamaCare levies.
ObamaCare requires that all Americans have health insurance either through a private provider or through a state or federally assisted program. If you don't have insurance you must pay a tax equal to 1% of your income in 2014 and 2.5% in 2016.
ObamaCare expands Medicaid to over 15 million uninsured low-income Americans.
The new health care law aims to reform the health care industry by cutting out waste, reallocating where government funding goes, fixing what doesn't work, and most of all ensuring health care for Americans.
Now that we've answered the question "What is ObamaCare?" it's time to take a look at the ObamaCare Facts and find out what its many provisions do for you.