Though it’s a hot-button topic right now, the health care reform initiative known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also dubbed ‘Obamacare,’ was actually signed into law back in 2010. While Congress battles it out with its attempts to repeal, delay, and defund certain provisions, many Americans are stuck trying to sort out the basics by themselves.
Here are the answers to the top 5 most commonly asked questions about the Affordable Care Act program:
1- When does this take effect/when does coverage start?
Open enrollment is here—it started on October 1st and continues through March 31st, 2014. If you enroll before the end of this year you should have coverage. If you enroll early next year, the coverage should start a month after enrollment.
2- What’s the real cost?
Not an easy, straightforward answer here. Age, geography, and lifestyle factors (including tobacco use) will all play a role in how much you pay for your health insurance. With the marketplace now open (as of October 1st) you should be able to get insights into costs and savings. You can also get an approximation of costs through the Kaiser Family Foundation’s ‘costs and savings calculator.
3- Can you keep the insurance you already have through your job?
This one is easy; you can keep your current coverage if you want to. You may also have the option to change to Marketplace coverage if you choose to
4- What is considered a ‘grandfathered health plan’ and does mine qualify?
If you’re currently covered by a plan that existed prior to the March 2010 legislation, it may be ‘grandfathered.’ What you need to find out is whether or not your grandfathered plan meets the proposed rights and protections offered by the Marketplace plans. Check with your employer’s benefits manager to find out. For more information on the specifics.
5- Will ACA cover people with pre-existing conditions?
Yes. According to the mandate, beginning in 2014 people with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health insurance. The exception here is the aforementioned ‘grandfathered’ insurance plans.
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