Now that Obama Care is the law of the land, it will first take effect in 2014. Businesses are already gearing up for the change. Many people who have not been informed by employers are wondering about these changes. Those who have health care are just as confused as those without health care about the changes.
There are definitely going to be some positive results with the initiation of the law next year. However, even promoters of the law admit that there are drawbacks. They are certain, though, that those drawbacks are an improvement over the present situation in which so many people are uninsured.
The Number of Uninsured
At present, approximately 48 million Americans are without health insurance. This number includes single people and married couples, young and old. People go without health insurance because they cannot afford it or because they think that they will not need it and do not want to make the expense. Either way, the average taxpayer is hurt because the government, health insurance companies and hospitals end up footing the bill when these individuals get sick or hurt.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010
The purpose of this bill, known loosely as Obama Care, was to extend coverage to all Americans. It requires everyone to have a form of health insurance. If a citizen demonstrates that he or she cannot afford health care, the US government will pay states to add these individuals to the Medicaid rolls.
There are some additional effects of the legislation. When people are unable to qualify for Medicaid, they can get tax credits for their health care expenditures if their income levels are below 400% of the federal poverty level. States will be required to create health care exchanges in order to help people review possible health care policies for themselves.
Additionally, health care companies will no longer be able to refuse coverage to children for pre-existing conditions. Neither will they be able to drop people form the rolls once they get sick. Children will be able to stay on their parents’ health care policies until they are 26.
Benefits for Uninsured
Obviously, the tens of millions who are presently uninsured will benefit from heaving health care policies. The major concern for them is price. No one really wants to be without health care. It is the exorbitant price of even the most basic policies that scares people off.
If the uninsured can get entered into the Medicaid rolls from which they were previously excluded, then they will be able to enjoy the benefits of a wide range of health care services. These will include fully-covered doctor visits, prescription drugs and hospital stays. In addition, they will get coverage for hearing, vision and dental issues. These are policies that are often left out when people with marginal incomes finally save enough money to afford a basic health insurance policy.
Those who do not qualify for the Medicaid rolls will benefit tremendously at tax time. Health insurance premiums have always been used as tax deductions. As tax credits, these premiums will significantly lower or even erase the tax bills for many Americans. The additional benefit of this aspect of the new law is that it will encourage people to seek better, more expensive coverage in order to equal a larger portion of their tax bill.
Benefits of Obama Care for Seniors
Obama Care has also addressed many difficult issues that have cropped up with regard to Medicare. Some senior citizens using Medicare to buy prescription drugs ran into limits on coverage that would force them to go without medicine for periods of every year. They also paid heavily for wellness and preventive care visits. Now these same seniors will discover expanded care that will cover these issues.
Benefits of Obama Care for the Insured
If you are already insured, you will enjoy more transparency in your health care insurance provider. You will be able to hold these companies accountable for the way in which they spend your premiums. There will be expanded and helpful explanations of why rate increases occur. Furthermore, insurers will be required to spend, and prove that they spend, at least 80% of the money that they receive in premiums on health care and not on administration or other costs.
Not everyone is going to be happy about this law. If a person was able to afford health care prior to this new legislation and chose to forgo coverage to avoid the expense, he or she will be saddled with new costs. However, the potential for using the tax credits should more than make up for that inconvenience.
Some businesses will face additional costs as well. If a business has more than 50 employees, it will be required to oversee a health care plan for its employees. However, less than 1% of businesses of this size do not already provide such options. Also, the new health care exchange should make it easier for these businesses to shop for policies.
The biggest concern about Obama Care is that it may raise overall health care premiums. The requirement of preventive tests and screenings for all the insured will result in higher expenses by insurers. Naturally, most people will turn out well and not need these screens but the expenses will have to be paid nonetheless.
There has been great debate about Obama Care in the last few years. The debate has died down now as states and businesses have accepted that this will be the law. Everyone is getting ready to handle the pros and cons of Obama Care in 2014.