The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare is designed to provide health insurance coverage for all Americans regardless or financial condition of pre-existing health conditions. The new law went into effect of January 1, 2014 and has a ‘Patient’s Bill of Rights” which is designed to give people the stability and flexibility in order to for them to make the right decisions to be informed about their health.
People who have low incomes are able to qualify for premium subsidies based on their incomes. If an individual’s or a family’s income is between 100% and 400% of the poverty level they will qualify to receive subsidies if they purchase insurance through the exchanges that have been set up for this purpose.
In the first year of the plan in 2014, an open enrollment period began on October 1, 2013 and ends on March 31, 2014. This is an open window for people to enroll in the Affordable Care Act and obtain coverage. There will be no pre-existing conditions that will keep a person from obtaining medical coverage. This was one of the big items that was eliminated from former methods of coverage.
People are exempt from having to enroll in the Affordable Care Act if they are covered by an employer, have individual coverage that is qualified, have an individual policy that is grandfathered, or are covered under Medicaid.
Plans that will start in 2015 will have an open enrollment period from November 15 of 2014 to January 15, 2015.
People who don’t make the enrollment by the end of the open enrollment period will be subject to a fine of $95 per person. This fine will be subtracted from their tax refund at the end of the 2014 tax year. These people will be ineligible for coverage during 2014, but may sign up and enroll for the 2015 plan year.
Some of the provisions of Obamacare are new. One is that everyone will be offered coverage, as no one can be turned down, not matter what their state of health or previous health problems. In other words, pre-existing conditions cannot cause a person to be denied for health insurance.
Everyone is entitled to a wellness checkup each and every year under the new plan. This includes a complete wellness exam for children, including all of the necessary shots. Also men and women will also be eligible for their wellness exams, including mammogram and pap smears for women, and PSA testing for men. Colonoscopy exams are also available under the law.
The policies will be offered to the public in each state through exchanges, which are points of marketing where people can obtain and compare rates and coverage levels from company to company and purchase their policies. They will have online availability, as well as by the phone and in person capabilities of enrolling in the plan.
The Obamacare program is intended to increase the quality and affordability of health coverage and to lower the rate of uninsured individuals at a fair cost and broader coverage for all Americans.
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