ObamaCare Facts: Affordable Care Act, Health Insurance Marketplace
Unbiased Facts on ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act), Health Care Reform and the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Obamacare Facts provides unbiased information on ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act), health care reform, and the health insurance marketplace.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), officially called The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), is a US law that reforms both the healthcare and health insurance industries in America. The law increases the quality, availability, and affordability of private and public health insurance to over 44 million uninsured Americans through its many provisions which include new regulations, taxes, mandates, and subsidies.
The ACA's key provisions include measures to eliminate pre-existing conditions, stop insurance companies from dropping you when you are sick, along with many more new, benefits, rights and protections. The law also expands Medicaid to 15.9 million Americans, and creates state specific health insurance marketplaces (sometimes known as an exchanges) where low-to-middle-income Americans can shop for free or low cost health insurance.
The law also works to curb the growth in healthcare spending in the US which has been rising at an unsustainable rate, among other things.
ObamaCare's many provisions give new patient protections in dealing with insurance companies and in return mandate that everyone who can afford to must obtain health insurance by 2014, get an exemption, or pay a penalty. Learn more about the Individual Mandate.
Who is ObamaCareFacts.com?
ObamaCare Facts is an independent website created by two guys sick of trying to dig through the talking points to get to the facts. We are an unbiased, grassroots website with no political funding, or agenda. We are open to any and all contributions from the public and have made it a goal to continually increase community involvement and quality of information on this site. If you feel any information is inaccurate, misleading, or is missing, just let us know.
Please help us educate the everyone on health care reform by spreading the facts on the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace. What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?
Why Is It Called ObamaCare?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was nicknamed "ObamaCare" due to it being championed by President Barack Obama. The term started becoming common back in 2009 (before the final legislation was even in place) and was widespread by the time the law was signed on March 23rd, 2010.
Although it was originally used as a pejorative term meant to pit opponents of the President against the law, it has since been embraced by the President and supporters of health care reform. When polled more people support the Affordable Care Act than ObamaCare, despite them being the same thing.
Like "HillaryCare" in the 90's or "RomneyCare" in Massachusetts, "ObamaCare" is a simple name for a complex issue. Get more Obamacare Facts on health care reform under the Affordable Care Act.
The History of ObamaCare
The concept behind ObamaCare was an individual mandate to obtain insurance, coupled with subsidies for private insurance. The concept was first put forth by The Heritage Foundation, a politically conservative think tank. Their idea was that this was an acceptable alternative to the single-payer initiative, “Medicare for All,” being proposed by the Clinton Administration. Since that time health care reform was proposed and expanded upon by both parties until it was implemented in Massachusetts by then-Governor Romney. During the 2008 elections, health care reform became a major plank on the platform of the Democratic party.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
When Barack Obama became president he started trying to pass the 2009 with the Affordable Health Care for America Act. This was followed by The Patient Protection Act, which culminated into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2010 (PPACA), or for short, "the Affordable Care Act" (ACA). After several changes, President Barak Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010.
The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act
Other, less-discussed aspects of ObamaCare are the health care related sections of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 and the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which were signed into law along with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The PPACA itself also includes amendments to many existing U.S. laws and includes new rules and regulations called for by the law but written afterwards.
ObamaCare Repeal Attempt Changes the Law
The Republican Party has tried to repeal ObamaCare more than 50 times. Since ObamaCare was upheld in the Supreme Court and Barack Obama was sworn into office for a second term, the Affordable care Act is now "the law of the land", albeit with some major changes made in the Supreme Court ruling. Some of the changes include states being able to opt out of expanding Medicaid to it's poorest and not implementing state-run health insurance marketplaces.
Luckily, the federal government creates health insurance marketplaces / exchanges for states who opt out of creating their own, but their poorest will remain uncovered (Medicaid expansion expands coverage to 138% of the federal poverty line in states that accept funding). Most provisions contained within the law have already gone into effect and many more will roll out over the next decade, although Republican attempts to repeal and defund the law are still in full force.
What Does the Affordable Care Act Do?
ObamaCare's many provisions give new patient protections in dealing with insurance companies and, in return, mandates that everyone who can afford it must obtain health insurance by 2014 (coverage must be obtained during Open enrollment. See individual mandate for more details).
The Affordable Care Act also creates new taxes, increases funding for health education and awareness, makes spending cuts and more. On our site, ObamaCareFacts, we discuss the many provisions in detail, but a summary of each provision is available here.
In the years since it's become a law, the Affordable Health Care Act has already made a big difference in our country by providing new rights and protections to more than 100 million Americans. Here are some of major changes to healthcare.
• ObamaCare prohibits insurance companies from dropping your coverage if you get sick or make an honest mistake on your application.
• It eliminates pre-existing conditions and gender discrimination. See other new benefits, rights and protections.
• Let's young adults stay on their parent's plans until 26.
• Creates state based Health Insurance Exchange Marketplaces where Americans can shop for federally regulated and subsided health insurance.
• Protects against unjustified rate hikes and give you more rights to appeal insurance company decisions and much, much more.
• Includes a Employer Mandate for large employers to provide insurance and provides tax credits for small businesses who wish to offer coverage.
No system is perfect, but the Affordable Care Act aims to reform the American healthcare system towards the favor of the people and away from the favor of corporations and stockholders.
Check out the video below to get a detailed description of what ObamaCare does. Browse our site for the countless other things ObamaCare does or read the Full text of the Affordable Care Act for yourself.
Does ObamaCare Require Me to Purchase Health Insurance?
By May 1st 2014 all non-exempt Americans will have to be enrolled in a type of health insurance known as minimum essential coverage, get an exemption, or face a tax penalty for each month they go without coverage.
In most cases if you already have health insurance you like, you can keep it (although some plans are being phased out by 2017, see grandfathered health plans). For many low to middle income Americans, insurance is more affordable due to cost assistance and Medicaid Expansion. However, those making above 400% of the federal poverty line may find themselves paying more for coverage. Regardless of what you pay we all enjoy the new rights and protections offered by Obamacare.
Open Enrollment Under the Affordable Care Act
Under the Affordable Care Act most private insurance must be obtained during the marketplaces annual open enrollment period. Open enrollment periods protect insurers from folks simply waiting until they get sick to be covered and helps enforce the mandate and keep premium costs down. You won't be able to get most types of private coverage outside of open enrollment without qualifying for a special enrollment period. Other insurance types like Medicaid and CHIP (which is 365) have unique open enrollment periods.
To comply with the law for 2014 you needed to get coverage that started by May 1st, 2014 to avoid the fee. Open enrollment for 2015 starts November 15th, 2014 and ends February 15th, 2014.
If you miss the annual open enrollment period, you may still have options. Individuals may qualify for special enrollment period outside of open enrollment if they experience certain qualifying life events. Learn what to do if you missed the ObamaCare deadline.
ObamaCare Doesn't Create Insurance
ObamaCare (The Affordable Care Act) doesn't create private or public health insurance, it expands and improves public health insurance options like Medicaid and Medicaid. The ACA also creates a subsidized and regulated marketplaces where Americans can buy private health insurance using group buying power.
Although the expansion of Medicaid and cost assistance (both of which are subsidized by taxpayers) have gotten some criticism for being "hand outs to those who don't want to work," that criticism is mostly unfounded. The truth is, most of the newly insured will be working poor families who couldn't previously afford health insurance and those with pre-existing conditions who were previously "uninsurable" or priced out of insurance. Those who don't want to, or can't work already have access to Medicaid. It's myths and half truths like these that inspired us to create this facts site.
ObamaCare Health Insurance Exchanges (Marketplaces)
Under the Affordable Care Act, every legal resident of the United States of America will be able to shop for health insurance in their State's online health insurance exchange (sometimes known as a marketplace). The "ObamaCare Exchanges" are Online Marketplaces where low to middle income Americans can shop for regulated health insurance.
Your State's Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace only sells subsidized insurance during it's annual open enrollment period!
Each American can research every available policy and choose the right one for them and their family. The cost of your health insurance through the marketplace depends on your income, so only those making less than 400% of the Federal poverty level will be able to use cost assistance to obtain free or low cost health insurance.
How to Buy Insurance Under ObamaCare
There are four types of "metal plans" (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum) available on the marketplace as well as a catastrophic plan for those under 30 and those who had their plan canceled due to the ACA. You can also use the marketplace to sign up for Medicaid and CHIP. Medicare and other health insurance programs are signed up for separately. You can still buy private insurance through a broker or direct from a provider. See how to buy health insurance for more details on your options for obtaining coverage in 2014 or check out our guide to sign up for health insurance to find out your sign up options.
ObamaCare Medicare Reforms
ObamaCare cuts $716 billion (gross) in Medicare and Medicare Advantage related spending and reinvests it back into both Medicare and other aspects of the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable care Act does more than just make cuts to Medicare, it provides a wide array of improvements for seniors. Some major reforms include closing the Medicare Part D "donut hole" and providing better quality preventive services to seniors. Read More On Obamacare and Medicare and How it affects seniors.
ObamaCare Medicaid Reforms
ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion expands Medicaid to 15.9 million of our nation's poorest, including 9 million children by means of expanding CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program). However, this aspect of healthcare reform is in jeopardy in some states due to the states' ability to opt out of Medicaid expansion. Twenty-four States have already opted out of Medicaid expansion leaving 5.7 million Americans without proper healthcare. Find out more about ObamaCare Expanding Medicaid.
What Will ObamaCare Cost Me?
ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act) contains new taxes including a fee for not obtaining insurance in 2014. For some of us that will mean paying more, but for many it will mean having more affordable care or health coverage for the first time.
The ACA aims to give more people access to affordable, quality health insurance and it succeeds in many ways, but that doesn't mean everyone will pay less. In general the less you make, the less you pay. Regardless of if you will pay more or less, the quality of health insurance you receive has new, benefits, rights and protections making it a better quality health health insurance. After all, what good is health insurance that drops you when you get sick, drops you when you use too much, or denies you for being sick in the first place?
At the end of the day we all already pay for Medicare, Medicaid, and our own health related costs. Many other developed nations have covered their citizens with either a single-payer (Medicare for All) or a socialized system. Socialized medicine means that all health care workers work for the federal government and all the hospitals and clinics are owned by the government.
Instead, the U.S. has developed a new system under the Affordable Care Act, a uniquely American solution. We are using the private marketplace, through privately owned health insurance companies, to cover nearly all Americans. This means insurance companies now have enough healthy patients to balance the sicker ones. The ACA is a balanced system, benefiting both citizens and privately owned health care insurance companies.
The Affordable Care Act does address the growing cost of health care, it's true focus is on reforming and expanding health insurance. Until we as a nation address the root causes of health care costs in some meaningful way the costs and taxes associated with healthcare will continue to put a burden on Americans, regardless of the law. Check out our health care facts to understand more about why we need to reform not only health insurance, but health care spending.
Learn more about the Costs of ObamaCare and ObamaCare taxes to get an idea of what costs you, your family and your business will be responsible for.
What Else Does ObamaCare's Health Care Reform Cover?
ObamaCare aims to provide quality healthcare for more Americans at more affordable rates. Health care reform under the Affordable Care Act is the most significant overhaul of the health care industry in decades, covering every aspect of healthcare including mental heath, care for seniors, child health, woman's health and care for our nations poorest. ObamaCare also provides drug coverage, free preventive care, check ups for children and countless other unprecedented reforms to the American health care system. ObamaCare may not be perfect, but it does a lot to expand the average Americans health care rights. Find out more ObamaCare Facts check out the Benefits of ObamaCare (the Affordable Care Act) and our guide to the health insurance marketplace.