The majority of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more often referred to as Obama Care or just the Affordable Care Act, was set to go into effect on January 1, 2014. The enrollment period began on October 1, 2013 and was to end on January 1. However, due to problems with the HealthCare.gov website, the date has been extended through March 2014.
Under 26 Years of Age
The Affordable Care Act requires every American to have health insurance or risk paying a penalty, or more specifically, a ‘shared responsibility fee.’ If you haven’t reached your 26th birthday you can still remain covered by your parent’s health insurance: that is as long as they are providing at least half of your income and are claimed as a dependent on their tax returns.
If you are not claimed on someone else’s tax return and your expected income for 2014 is under $15,856, you will probably be eligible for your state’s Medicaid system, as long as your state has not opted out of participating in the expanded Medicaid program.
If you are under 26, are not a dependent and you expect to earn $15,856 to $45,960, you will be eligible for a tax credit that will help ease the pain from the cost of your insurance premium.
Independent and Under 30
If you are independent and under the age of 30, you have the option of purchasing catastrophic coverage. This kind of coverage is available only to people under 30 or those who qualify for an exemption due to economic hardship.
Catastrophic plans under ObamaCare are meant to provide coverage in the case that you suffer an accident or become seriously ill. The plan provides essential benefits only once the deductible has been met ($6,350 in 2014 for a single person). It does offer up to three visits to a primary care doctor without having a share of cost.
The premiums are very low, but the deductible is very high, while at the same time, payout limits can also be very high. If you are young and healthy, this is the least expensive coverage you can purchase. Once you reach age 30, however, you will have to choose from one of the different levels of coverage.
There are four plans to choose from: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each plan provides the same basic health care benefits. The difference is in the amount of monthly premium you want to pay and how much out-of-pocket you want to pay each time you receive services.
Different insurance companies may offer additional benefits beyond the standards that the government has set. This is one of the ways they will tempt you into going with their insurance over another one.
The different levels correspond to the amount that you pay versus what the insurance company pays. For instance, with the Bronze level, the split might be 40/60, meaning that the insurance will pay 40% of your medical expenses and you pay the other 60%.
More Information on the Individual Mandate
Since the law has come into effect, it means that everyone needs to be insured in 2014. If you do not obtain health care coverage, you will be subject to a penalty, or rather a shared cost fee. In 2014, the shared cost will be $95 each adult for each month you are not covered, and $47.50 for each child, or, 1% of your income, whichever is the highest. For this year, because of the extension, if you are covered by March 31, you will not face a penalty. Whether you pay a monthly premium or a penalty, your money will be collected. Everyone participates in one way or another.
Although it rubs some people the wrong way, the program is designed to make each person responsible for their own health care costs. This will mean that those who have been getting their health care for free (by not having any and then going to the emergency room) will have to begin to pay their part. In return, we get health insurance companies that cannot turn us down for preexisting conditions or charge more based on gender or place of residence, can’t cut off our insurance because we get sick, plus many other benefits.
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Published by Axiom Health Care Marketing