September 23, 2013
Affordable Care Act And You
As I write this, it is September 21, 2013. In just a little over a week, the Healthcare Exchange will be up and running and used by people across the country. People have questions all over the place. Just today, I ran across a National Public Radio article full of questions. Then I came across a redOrbit video addressing the general costs. Since it is so close to opening day, if you will, I thought a blog that included the information I have been researching might be helpful.
Note: I am not trying to convince anyone. This is not a politically-driven blog; rather, I would like to simply provide the information that is circulating to the redOrbit blog readers. Because so much politicking has infused the Affordable Care Act, I wanted to set that out before looking at the resources I have seen recently.
Now, onto that information…
Let’s start with the costs. Everyone is interested in cost, from individuals—young and elderly alike—to families to businesses—both small and large. Though no firm information is out there as of yet, redOrbit’s video explains that those in their 20s will likely pay about $270 a month for a mid-range healthcare insurance plan. Those in their 40s will pay about $330 for that same plan, and those in their 60s would pay about $615 on average. All of these prices would be average and pre-subsidies and tax credits. Once the latter are figured, these will likely be significantly less to almost $0. Though we will not know exactly the prices until October, The Kaiser Family Foundation has created a subsidy calculator to help Americans at least guess at their personal costs.
Beyond costs, people have many other questions, especially concerning enrollment. The NPR article addressed a few separate enrollment issues. First and foremost, Americans can only shop on the healthcare exchange during enrollment periods, which mimics how employer-based insurance works. For this first year, the exchange enrollment period will last from October 1, 2013, through to March 31, 2014. After this first year, the enrollment period will parallel what has been the process for insurance up until now, from October to December.
There are some exceptions to this, however. First, if one moves to a different state, gets married or divorced, gives birth to a child or adopts a child, or loses a job-based insurance, that person’s circumstances will trigger a special 60-day enrollment period so that he or she can buy health insurance on an exchange.
Moreover, if you are a retiree who still has coverage from a former employer, but you want to gain insurance through an exchange, there is a provision for that. As NPR writes, “it turns out that retiree coverage is sort of a special category. According to a Treasury Department spokeswoman, yes, you can drop your retiree coverage and go shop on the exchanges. And if your income is low enough you can be eligible for a subsidy. But you can make that move only during open enrollment season. So you need to be ready to look starting Oct. 1.”
Another question that I have heard on the radio, television, and in conversations deals with Medicare. Many are afraid that the so-called Obamacare will eliminate Medicare. That could not be further from the truth. The Healthcare.gov website about the relationship between Medicare and the ACA explains that benefits have expanded under the ACA. Medicare.gov further shows that Medicare coverage is protected and not going anywhere, and that the ACA ensures protection of Medicare. “The life of the Medicare Trust fund will be extended to at least 2029—a 12-year extension due to reductions in waste, fraud and abuse, and Medicare costs, which will provide you with future savings on your premiums and coinsurance.”
Many other questions are floating around the internet, radio, television, and within groups of friends, families, and businesses. This is a basic breakdown of those I have seen or have heard most often. I hope it helps to explain more about the ACA as well as provide some sources for people to look deeper into.
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