MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2014
While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as the "ACA" or "Obamacare") brought about some positive changes to our healthcare system, it has also stirred up some changes that are less than positive for many Americans.
Before the ACA took effect, approximately 86% of Americans were covered by some form of health insurance including individual or employer plans, Medicare, Medicaid, or a host of others. Of the remaining 14%, a certain number of people living in the US are not eligible for Obamacare. The primary goal of the new law was to make health insurance affordable and available to those who are uninsured and eligible - less than 10% of Americans. Of this eligible group, many were not insured because they couldn't afford health insurance and others were not insured because they simply did not want to purchase insurance.
Most Americans are now aware that the burden of making insurance affordable to this eligible but uninsured group of Americans has come at the expense of the 86% who were insured and happy with their insurance. There are also numerous hidden taxes that have and will be coming into effect to cover the cost of government subsidized health insurance and the broadened Medicaid program.
The first wave of major changes took effect on January 1, 2014. Individuals were mandated to purchase health insurance and the ACA specified the plans that had to be made available to individuals and families - either on the HealthCare.gov website or by going directly to insurance companies. Because of this, many insured on INDIVIDUAL health insurance plans found they were not able to keep the plan they had, and many insurance companies were forced to cancel all of their policyholders and offer completely new plans that met the new government requirements. Many who had been insured found their premiums to be higher AND that their out-of-pocket costs within the plan were much higher.
The second wave of major changes had been scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015 - when the small business mandate was to take effect. This change may affect the largest group of people in the country - more than the group of individuals or those employed by large businesses. The effective date of this mandate has been pushed back until 2016 and many believe the primary reason was to avoid a new level of angst to Americans just prior to the mid-term elections.
Another thing that has been quietly changed behind the scenes is the open enrollment period to purchase health insurance for the 2015 calendar year. October 15 had been the date for open enrollment to begin but, with elections on November 4, the date has been pushed back until November 15, 2014. USA Today has an interesting article on this, titled "Obamacare is in Hiding Until After the Election". You may recall that, prior to 2014, a person could purchase health insurance at any time. With limited exception, Obamacare allows only a window of time that will run from November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015 to purchase health insurance for the 2015 calendar year.
We're all hoping that the enrollment process will function more smoothly this year. If you have questions or need health insurance contact us online or call us at 800-220-5582.
Image source: vitasamb2010 / freedigitalphotos.net
NOTICE: This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only.
It is not be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional
in your state. By using this blog site you understand that there is no broker client relationship between
you and the blog and website publisher.