If you’re having a difficult time making sense of what the new health law means, don’t worry! We have the answers to your most common questions:
- You have until March 31 to sign up for insurance or pay the penalty. The penalty will either be $95 or 1 percent of your income based on your income tax return (whichever is greater in 2014). However, there are some exceptions-like if your plan was one of the thousands that was canceled last year in the big healthcare.gov fiasco.
- If you have insurance through a large employer, you are most likely unaffected although your employer is technically allowed to change the plan. The new law has also made changes to workplace insurance; most plans ban lifetime coverage limits and guarantee that an adult child (children up age 26) can stay on his or her parents’ insurance plan. Some smaller employers are even asking employees to get insurance through the exchanges.
- Some existing plans, sometimes called “grandfathered plans,” can still charge co-pays for preventive services even though the health law requires it to be free. However, if you have one of these plans and your employer makes changes that raise your out-of-pocket costs, that plan would lose its “grandfathered” status and the ACA’s protections would need to be applied.
- Insurance companies can no longer deny you coverage or charge you more for a pre-existing condition! They also cannot limit the coverage of your essential health benefits which include prescription drugs and hospitalizations. Also, you cannot get dropped by your insurer for getting sick.
- Most people are now eligible for preventive services such as breast cancer screenings and cholesterol tests without any out-of-pocket costs.
- 25 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid. Anyone who makes less than $16,000 for an individual and $32,500 for a family of four receives full coverage. If you make more, you still qualify for a subsidy through the insurance marketplaces which are available to those people making $11,490-$45,960 per year.
- Beginning in 2015, all employers with 50 or more full-time employees must provide health coverage or face penalties. There is also a tax credit to help cover costs for those who have less than 50 full-time employees (however, if you don’t provide insurance for your employees and have less than 50, you will not face any penalties).
- Yes, the Healthcare.gov website had its fair share of issues in 2013. However, officials say more than 2.2 million people have successfully enrolled in new health plans after the website revamping!
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