6 months ago
Last edited at 12:58PM on 10/31/2013
"Obamacare" is the nickname for the Affordable Care Act. It's a series of laws about insurance, but it's not insurance.
If you already have insurance, you don't need to apply for anything. You can, however, look at the Marketplace for policies that may be more comprehensive or affordable than your current one.
If you are one of the many people who are paying for healthcare out of pocket because you can't afford insurance, the ACA is also expanding the Medicare program to cover people in your situation.
Other things the ACA is doing or has done are things like requiring that certain preventive care (like mammograms) be covered, not optional; that insurance companies spend 80% of your premium on actual care, only 20% on overhead and profit; raised the maximum age for dependents so that college students could still be covered on their parents' insurance and not get dropped at 18; and setting other rules up so that people *can* switch between insurance providers if they don't like who they have.
Options: 1. Employer provides coverage. No need for ACA. You may wish to check pricing, but typically, group is cheaper than individual in every state. 2. Government already supplies your care (Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE). No need to go on exchanges. 3. You have an individual policy that isn't being cancelled. Retain it, as long as you wish. If you are under 26, you can go on your parents policy. 4. You have a policy you liked and it's being cancelled. Write your congressman. And check into ACA, which is a lot of coverage for a lot of money. If you are poor, it may be subsidized (subsidies end about when an individual makes 46k/yr or a family makes double that). If you are making over 26k/yr, the subsidies likely will be minimal. 5. You can decide not to buy. Cost: 1% of your yearly salary, first year, ramping up to 2.5% in later years. And the penalty does NOT buy you insurance-- you still have to do that. 6. You can get it anytime between now and the end of March 2014. It will be good starting Jan 1, 2014. No discount for late purchase, I bet. 7. You will have co-pays. You will have deductibles. You will likely be limited to the doctors in your plan. The Bronze plan covers about 60% of expenses, the Silver 70%, and so on.