If you’re like most Americans, you may be confused and overwhelmed in regards to what the new healthcare law means for you specifically. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires every individual to buy health insurance, whether through an employer or through the healthcare exchange (now open for business).
The idea behind the healthcare overhaul is that health insurance should be available and affordable to all Americans, regardless of their health condition, while providing more comprehensive coverage for better care and treatment. Under the ACA, insurance companies are no longer able to deny or drop your coverage based on pre-existing conditions or sudden illness.
The majority of American citizens receive health insurance through their employer. In this case, you do not have to make any changes and you will not be eligible for tax credits if you forgo job-based coverage in favor of the healthcare exchange plans.
Individuals and families who do not receive job-based healthcare, and who earn lower incomes, may be eligible for subsidized (lower cost) premiums via the healthcare exchange if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Annual income between $11,490 and $45,960 for individuals
- Annual income between $23,550 and $94,200 for a family of four
- Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) recipients
All new healthcare plans must fall into one of four categories—bronze, silver, gold and platinum—which include various premiums, deductibles and co-pays. However, all policies must offer the “minimum essential coverage,” which includes physician visits, preventative care, prescription drugs and hospital stays. Many preventative care services, such as cancer screenings and annual checkups, will be offered for free to encourage routine care for better overall health.
Anyone who does not receive coverage through their employer is required to purchase insurance through the marketplace by the first of January. Those who fail to do so will be charged a hefty penalty, which will increase each year you do not have health insurance, climbing well over $600 by 2016.
With a comprehensive health insurance policy in your portfolio, you don’t have to worry about choosing between a visit to your doctor or paying this month’s electric bill. Medical care and treatment is becoming more affordable so you can stay healthier throughout the years, all for a fraction of what it used to cost.
Still have questions about healthcare? Call Sound Benefit Solutions at (925) 244-1330 for more information on California healthcare reform.