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How Does the New Federal Healthcare Law Affect You?
What's the Affordable Care Act?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010 to provide more Americans with
access to healthcare. The law is often referred to as Obamacare. Some changes have
already taken effect and others are being phased in over time. The biggest effect of the
ACA is that people who previously couldn't afford or qualify for coverage due to pre-existing
conditions will now be able to sign up for health insurance. Enrollments through the new
health insurance exchange begin October 1, 2013, and coverage begins January 1, 2014.
What if I can't afford health insurance?
Tax credits, expanded eligibility requirements for Medicaid (in some states), and subsidies
will take effect in 2014, helping those who qualify pay for health insurance. Depending on
your financial situation you may even be eligible for a $0 premium plan. Under the new law
you can compare the options offered through a new health insurance exchange and see
what your estimated premium, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs will be before you make
a decision to enroll in an insurance plan.
Can people with pre-existing conditions get health insurance?
Beginning January 1, 2014, health insurance companies are required to insure everyone
who applies and pays the premiums for coverage.
Can my adult son or daughter stay covered on my family plan?
Under the new healthcare law you'll be able to keep your adult children insured on your
plan up until their 26th birthday. Most limits to keeping your adult son or daughter on your
coverage up to age 26 are removed. This means they don't have to be a full-time student,
live with you, be disabled or be a tax dependent. This part of the law is already in effect.
What if I don’t want health insurance? Is there a penalty?
If you're not covered by health insurance in 2014 you could be required to pay a penalty on
your federal income tax. In 2014 the penalty is the higher of two amounts - $95 or 1 percent
of income. These penalties increase each year.
When does it start?
Parts of the law have already been implemented, but the biggest change will take place in
2014. Starting January 1, 2014, almost everyone in the U.S. will be required by law to have
health insurance. Also, in 2014, individuals can no longer be denied health insurance or see
a price increase for coverage based on pre-existing conditions. A health insurance exchange
will be established in each state, beginning in October 2013, to help people obtain insurance
and get tax credits to purchase the insurance if they are financially eligible.
The open enrollment period for buying insurance through the health insurance exchange
begins on October 1, 2013 and will end on March 31, 2014, for the year 2014. The exchange
will have calculators to help calculate monthly premiums. It can also help determine
whether you qualify for financial help to help pay health insurance premiums. Coverage
purchased through the exchanges prior to December 15, 2013 will start on January 1, 2014.