Critical Health Care Issues and Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is a federal law that has an impact on every American citizen. The bill requires all of us to either have insurance or pay a penalty. If you already have health insurance, Obamacare may substantially change the type of coverage you have, the benefits you receive, and the cost of that coverage. As a consumer, you have an obligation to understand the impact Obamacare could have/will have/is already having on your and your family’s health insurance.

The Basics
Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, was put into law to provide several benefits to consumers. You can find out more and apply for coverage at Health plans can no longer deny benefits to children under 19 because of a pre-existing condition. The law bans lifetime limits on most benefits for new health care plans.

Under the law, if you can afford insurance but choose not to buy it, you must have a health care exemption or pay a fee. This is called the “individual mandate,” and in 2015, the fee is 2 percent of your yearly household income, or $325 per person, whichever is higher. This page explains the individual mandate in more detail.

Obamacare and Health Insurance Costs
Title I of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) states that the law (passed in 2010), will reduce premium costs in several ways. As stated here, the law provides billions of dollars in tax relief, and also limits out-of-pocket expenses. Obamacare was passed to lower insurance premiums by creating large insurance exchanges. The exchanges were designed to force insurance providers to compete for a large group of customers by offering lower prices.

If you have an insurance provider, LinkedIn has made it easier to contact professionals with your firm. A company’s LinkedIn page gives you access to basic company information, as well as links to many of the firm’s employees. The USHealth Group LinkedIn webpage is a good example.

The Group Most Affected By the New Law
A Manhattan Institute study analyzed the health insurance costs for a specific group of people: Individuals who do not get their health insurance through their employees, or through government programs like Medicaid or Medicare. Before Obamacare, many Americans lost their insurance when they left an employer. The ACA attempts to solve this problem by allowing customers to buy insurance through the federal exchanges. This step allows individuals to have insurance, regardless of where they work.

Take a look at this interactive guide. Just can click on a state and you’ll be able to see insurance premium costs broken down by age group and sex. The report concludes that most consumers are paying higher premiums after ACA was passed than they were before.

Confusion in the Marketplace
While Obamacare in an attempt to solve problems in the health insurance market, it has also created more confusion for some consumers. Should you go get covered through your employer or go straight to the federal exchanges? How do policy benefits and costs compare?

In an attempt to overcome their confusion, many consumers look for information on line. Dozens of insurance companies offer the ability to provide information and obtain an insurance quote online. Consider working with an insurance agent to compare health insurance policies and decide on coverage. They can help clear up confusion about changes in the industry.

Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
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