Health Reform

Health Care Reform / The Affordable Care Act / ObamaCare

Healthcare reform has been a hot button topic in the United States for some time now and public opinion has generally been supportive of some degree of government involvement. With the recent implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, championed by president Barack Obama, some confusion has been generated among Americans as to how the new law will affect them.

There are, first of all some important facts about the new law that should be made clear in order to begin to alleviate the confusion.

  • One of the first things that you should be aware of is that starting on January 1, 2014 every American will be required to have health insurance. Failure to meet this requirement will result in a tax penalty.
  • Beginning October 1, 2013, you will be able to compare various health care plans on a health insurance exchange or with an insurance agent and enroll in a plan.
  • You must enroll and pay your premium by December 15th to assure coverage begins January 1st.
  • Open enrollment for health insurance closes on March 31, 2014 and those individuals without coverage will be assessed a tax penalty of approximately 1% of their adjusted gross income for the first year and up to 2.5% of their adjusted gross income in 2016.

Are There Different Plans to Choose From?

New plans being offered in 2014 and beyond must have benefits and coverage that fit within four categories: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. If the plans meet these criteria then they are considered “Qualified” plans. Plans that do not meet this Federally mandated criteria would be deemed “non-qualified” plans. Americans must purchase Qualified plans or pay the tax or fine outlined above. The categories can best be explained as follows:

  • Bronze is for all intents and purposes a basic plan and has the lowest monthly premiums of all the categories. However, it only pays around 60% of your healthcare costs and should only be utilized if you don’t foresee significant medical expenses during the policy term.
  • Silver has higher premiums than the Bronze plan but will cover more of you medical expenses – around 70%.
  • Gold pays around 80% of your medical expenses but, the tradeoff is that it has higher premiums than the silver plan.
  • Platinum has the highest monthly premium and will cover up to 90% of medical expenses.

How Much Will it Cost?

Deductibles, copays and coinsurance that an insured has to pay toward medical expenses on a Bronze plan is much higher than a Platinum plan, thus, the Bronze plan is much less expensive than a Platinum plan.

The total cost of your health care coverage is not only dependent upon the plan you choose under the new laws but also on your age, where you live, the size of your family and your income.

Health Care Reform Us Capitol US Flag

These are just a few points how the health care reform law affects us. Give Ankley Insurance Services a call today so they can help you understand how this law affects you and what plan is right for you and your situation.