The Affordable Care Act
The federal government enacted the Affordable Care Act in 2010 to provide health insurance for all legal US citizens. It requires that you select a health insurance exchange (health insurance plan) if you do not already have qualified coverage. You can select an exchange by phone or online at HealthCare.gov.
The Affordable Care Act has four benefit categories of plans which all provide essential health benefits. All plans will have deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket costs. The Bronze plan provides 60% benefit coverage with out of pocket limits equal to $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families. The Silver plan covers 70%, the Gold plan 80%, and the Platinum plan 90%. There is also a Catastrophic plan up to age 30 to cover up to the out of pocket maximums minus preventative care.
The plans with more benefit coverage have higher premiums. The lower the premium the higher the out-of-pocket costs for healthcare. The exact premiums are determined by household income. A household above a certain income level and with coverage from another source (employer, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP) may still shop for health insurance through the exchange, but the plans will be full price.
The essential health benefits provided by each plan include ambulatory care, emergency care, hospitalization, pregnancy/newborn care, mental health services, prescription drugs, rehabilitation services, laboratory services, preventative care, and pediatric care. Some preventative care services are free.
You can enroll or change your selection until February 15, 2015. If you don’t have coverage in 2015, you pay a penalty of 2% of your annual income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child, whichever is higher.
If you had health coverage from another source in 2014 you report this on your federal income taxes. If you didn’t have health coverage for more than 3 months in 2014 you will pay a fine when you file your 2014 federal income tax return. Individuals in low income brackets are exempt from the fine.
Click this link for a helpful video that explains the Affordable Care Act – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-Ilc5xK2_E
Click the attached article for more details on the Affordable Care Act. – 1-6-2015 – Affordable Care Act Kaiser P Summary
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