Despite Republican attempts to stop the Affordable Care Act, most commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” some of the major changes the new healthcare law brings about are almost here.
The bill was signed by President Obama in March 2010 and open enrollment begins October 1. While information about the law has been around for a while, there are still a lot of questions about what Obamacare will actually change, as well as some misconceptions. Read below for a few FAQs regarding Obamacare.
Q: What are some changes that are already in effect as a result of Obamacare?
A: One big change people with insurance have seen so far is that parents can keep their children on their health insurance plans until they turn 26. Another major change already into effect is that insurance companies aren’t allowed to drop you if you get sick.
Q: Am I going to lose my current health insurance plan and be forced to purchase a different plan?
A: No; most people who already have insurance won’t see any changes. People will have the option, however, to shop around for a different health insurance plan.
Q: Am I required to purchase health insurance, even if I’m young, healthy and don’t need it?
A: Everyone is required to have health insurance, per the Affordable Care Act. Since it’s impossible to foresee emergency situations that can bring about high hospital bills, everyone must have health insurance. Otherwise, according to HealthCare.gov, “everyone else ends up paying the price.”
Q: Where do I purchase health insurance under Obamacare?
A: Through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Fifty-one online health exchanges (one from every state and the District of Columbia) will offer enrollment from different insurance companies. While enrollment doesn’t begin until October 1, people can start reviewing their options now.
Q: What kind of penalties will I pay under Obamacare if I decide that I don’t want health insurance?
A: In 2014, the yearly penalty is $95 for an adult, $47.50 per child and up to $285 per family or one percent of family income, whichever is greater. Penalties will rise over the years, with the maximum set for $695 per family or 2.5 percent by 2016.
Q: How much will Obamacare cost me?
A: This depends on your age, location, family size and income. While some people will see drops in what they’re currently paying, according to Forbes, it “is estimated to run an average family of four between $650 and $1,000 per year over the next decade.”
Q: How long is open enrollment for Obamacare?
A: Open enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplace is from October 1st, 2013 to March 31st, 2014.
Obama: "On Oct 1st, millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance…will finally be able to buy quality affordable health insurance"
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 26, 2013