Many of us have heard on the news or read on social media sites various opinions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also known as “Obamacare.” There is a lot of confusion on what this new Act truly means and what the effect will be on us: the citizens. The main question is: what is Obamacare? With the Act being so vast it is hard to get a clear understanding of the new law and the effect it can have on you.
First, check to see if your health care plan was in existence before March 20, 2010, if so it could be “grandfathered in” therefore it does not have to provide the required Obamacare benefits. If your health care plan does not meet this criterion, your insurance plan under Obamacare must cover:
- Children up to age 26 can be added to your health insurance plan
- It cannot limit the coverage you receive over your lifetime
- It cannot deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions
- If you or another adult has a pre-existing condition, you will get the same protection as your child starting in 2014
- No co-pay for wellness or pregnancy exams
By 2014, everyone will be required to have health insurance. You will be required to purchase insurance or pay a penalty of up to 1% of your income. In 2014, if your income is 133% or less than the “Federal poverty level” (in 2013 it was $15,281 for an individual and $31,321.50 for a family of four) you qualify for Federal government funded insurance: Medicaid. If you are a small business owner, with 25 employees or less, you can get a tax credit of 35% of the costs of health insurance and this can go up to 50% in 2014. If you are a small business owner, with 50 employees or less, you do not have to pay a fine if your workers get tax credits through the Health Insurance Marketplace also known as the “exchange”. With 50 or more employees you must provide health insurance or pay a penalty of $2,000 per employee (excluding the first 30 employees) starting January 2015.
Starting in 2014, if you get your health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible for the Premium Tax Credit. The open enrollment period to purchase health insurance coverage for 2014 through the Marketplace runs from October 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014.
This is only a summary of the health care law and how it can affect you. To find out more about this new law please visit: www.HHS.gov/HealthCare