As the Affordable Care Act celebrates its ninth year in existence, healthcare continues to be a hot topic among individuals and families that want better coverage. However, many struggle with the cost of decent healthcare. The Affordable Care Act helped change that.
In March of 2010, the Affordable Care Act — also known as ACA, PPACA or Obamacare — was mandated by Federal law and included two separate bills –– the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
The ACA set out to achieve three goals:
- Make affordable health insurance available to more people
- Expand the medicaid program
- Support innovative medical care delivery method to lower the overall cost of healthcare.
The law also aimed to improve system efficiencies and eliminate practices such as the denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
So what does the Affordable Care Act really include? Under the act, all men and women age 26 years and under are eligible to receive health insurance under their parents’ individual or employer sponsored coverage plan. This rule applies to individuals in all 50 states.
The ACA also includes the expansion of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This expansion provides coverage for millions of uninsured and low income American families. Low income individuals who do not have children are also able to qualify for Medicaid. Because health insurance is mandated by the ACA and causes some individuals and families to take on additional expenses they cannot afford, the federal government supports individuals for health coverage if their annual income falls below a specified amount.
Under this act, policy owners cannot be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition, plans must include free preventive services and group health insurance plans must begin for all employees within a period of 90 days or less.
However, since the law has passed, there have been a few changes. The Department of Labor proposed a rule to allow small businesses to band together to purchase health coverage plans that do not have to abide by some consumer protections. The Senate also pushed to eliminate the penalty for not having health insurance as part of its tax cut bill.
Finally, the Trump administration proposed to loosen the ACA restrictions on short term health plans, causing concern that it will fail to protect consumers from serious medical bills and could destabilize the individual insurance market. Trump also signed an executive order pushing federal officials to make it easier for people to purchase insurance that does not meet regulatory standards of the ACA.
For more information on changes to the affordable care act from the experts at Prime Insurance Service, please contact us here or call us directly at 616.940.8118.