The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare was put into place to afford the American public guaranteed health coverage in order for everyone to have the means to afford quality healthcare. The objectives were to expand public and private coverage through a partnership between the government and private health insurance companies to provide coverage for everyone.
The new law became effective January 1 of 2014 and the deadline for enrollment is March 31, 2014. The law requires people to enroll in the plan during that time frame, unless they are already covered by insurance provided by their employer or qualified individual coverage. The law also requires the health insurance companies to cover anyone, regardless of their state of health, or any pre-existing conditions.
People with lower incomes can qualify for premium subsidies which offsets their out of pocket costs for the premiums, which will help them to be able to afford the cost of the policy.
Health insurance exchanges have been set up in each state to facilitate the purchase of the policies by the consuming public. The exchanges are available online or over the phone, or in person in some locations. The exchanges are also called Marketplaces.
During first year of operation, there will be open enrollment from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.
For plans for the 2015 policy year, open enrollment is planned for November 15, 2014 to January 15, 2015.
The subsidies are available for low-income families and individuals who have an income between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. For the 2014 plan year people who earn an individual income up to $45,960 or $94,200 for a family of four people can choose to receive the subsidy in advance, and have the amount sent directly to the health insurance company each month.
For businesses that employ 50 people or more, but choose not to offer health insurance to their employees who are full time, will pay a penalty for each employee that they choose not to cover. This is called the employer mandate.
Obamacare is intended to put Americans back in charge of their health care by giving people the stability and flexibility to make informed choices about their health. For one thing, the pre-existing condition exclusions for previous health problems has been ended, and everyone who applies for Obamacare is guaranteed that they will have coverage. All children under age 19 are also guaranteed coverage.
All individuals will now receive a free annual physical with screening for breast cancer, ladies annual checkups, pap smear, and mammogram being covered, and annual physicals and PSA testing for men being covered.
All of the required annual wellness exams are also covered for children, including all of their necessary shots.
Young adults can also keep the coverage that they have on their parents health insurance until age 26 if they wish.
The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to provide adequate coverage for all at reasonable prices so that no one will be without healthcare.
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