As some of you may know, October 1st was the apocalypse for those of us working in the health care industry. Rates were released from the government, and then they politely shut down, as the healthcare.gov website nearly did. Too many people, only so many servers. So here we are a few days later, with 4th quarter looming, and no end in site to the busy end of year-ness.
But not to fear readers, I, Jana, pledge to successfully take you through the basics of the Affordable Care Act without 1) taking a political side, 2) putting you to sleep, & 3) forcing you to buy insurance.
Unless you work in the industry like I do, the typical American doesn't have to pay attention to what Health Care Reform changes really mean. But when you get your new health insurance premiums in January, boy howdy, THEN you will really want to know what's up.
So here's the sitch. Older Americans (we'll say about 45-64) pay more than almost anyone else for health insurance coverage. (This is the time of life when you are visiting the doctor the most.) For some, the kids are moved out, and it's just you and the Mr. or Mrs. Some employee plus spouse rates are astronomical, sometimes as much as for an entire family. (Some families can pay over $1000 per month for coverage.) So, Barack Obama and other lawmakers decided that this probably wasn't exactly fair to be charging this much, to those who are older, and also to those who have health problems. Many health insurance companies charge more to cover these individuals, or the companies previously have chosen not to cover them because they don't want to take on the risk, or pay for high costing procedures, treatment, etc.
So how the Affordable Care Act helps these people is doing away with pre-existing conditions. As of January 1st, 2014, you cannot be denied coverage because of health issues or your medical history. Huzzah!
Second, younger people like myself will be paying more for monthly premiums, and older individuals will be paying less for coverage. Also good for everyone, I think!
Thirdly, depending on your annual household income, you may qualify for a monthly subsidy from the government to assist you with your monthly premium. But be sure to note that if you make too little, you may qualify for Medicaid, and if you make too much, you don't qualify for a subsidy. (These are designed to help lower income individuals and their families.)
So the best thing you can do for yourself is to get educated. Ignorance can only take you so far. Know what your options are if you are over 26 and are kicked off of your parents plan, or if your employer doesn't offer coverage. Know that there is always the option of shopping around. If you are unsatisfied with your coverage or insurance broker, let them know you'd like better service, and see what other options are available to you.
Hope this helps!
P.S. ****To quickly plug the brokers I work for, they are some of the most honest, and hard-working people I know. They care about the clients first, and everything else comes second. We have all worked our tails off preparing for these changes, and we are truly ahead of the game. I am proud to be an employee at
RBI Benefits, and if you find yourself coming up short with your benefits, give us a try.
P.P.S ****I understand the name Obamacare has been connected with the Affordable Care Act, but beware if someone is trying to sell you something in connection with the name Obamacare. They may be bogus. Anyone in the industry will be referring to it as Health Care Reform, or the Affordable Care Act or ACA.