The Ways in Which ObamaCare is and isn’t Free
ObamaCare is free for some via Medicaid expansion, offers cost assistance to others via the marketplace, and cost those without cost assistance money. Below we discuss all the ways ObamaCare is or isn’t free depending on income and state.
TIP: All cost assistance mentioned below is based on family size and household income as compared to the the federal poverty level guidelines. Cost assistance eligibility is the same in all states except in Hawaii and Alaska which use unique guidelines, and in states that rejected Medicaid to low income adults (those states may have stricter CHIP guidelines too). Also, exact assistance amounts differ by family, region, and health plan.
- ObamaCare is free if you or your family qualifies for Medicaid / CHIP.
- ObamaCare isn’t free if you are a single low income adult and your state didn’t expand Medicaid, in this case local charities may be your only option outside a public hospital in an emergency.
- ObamaCare offers cost assistance on the marketplace, this won’t net you free coverage, but it could reduce what you pay in premiums to roughly between 2 – 9.5% of family income based on the federal poverty level.
- ObamaCare offers free services on all health plans ranging from free birth control for women to free preventive services and a free annual checkup, but the specifics can be complex and costs can be involved. For instance a non-preventive screening can incur a fee. The ACA has many other benefits and adds many more rights, but they aren’t “free”. See benefits of ObamaCare.
- ObamaCare may be free to many end users, but isn’t totally free in every respect. For example, it costs tax payers money (this includes mandates for employers to provide coverage and some taxes on high earners) and it generally costs the US money. The healthcare system was expensive before the ACA, it costs roughly the same today. The ACA reduces costs, especially longterm cost increase trends in certain sectors (see some highlights), but generally healthcare costs for individuals and for the government are high and still inflating (so more work to be done, regardless of your ideology).
The above is the simple version of the ways ObamaCare is or isn’t free, our who site is dedicated to the cost of ObamaCare, how to get and maximize cost assistance, and how the tax related provisions work. See the links above for more information on each aspect of Obamacare and cost.