Weve all heard about Obamacare, but do you really know what it is all about? Read these shocking truths about the Affordable Healthcare Act and get one step closer to knowing what is going on!
1) Obamacare is Expensive
First of all, even though the true name of the act has the word affordable in the title, it is anything but. In a time when we should be cutting government budgets, even Obamas own Congressional Budget Office estimates that the ACA will cost taxpayers about 1.8 trillion dollars over the next ten years. The Republican Senate Budget Committee puts that number even higher at 2.6 trillion though either one is quite high!
2) Cancelled Plans
Millions of people have already recieved cancellation notices in the mail from their health insurance companies informing them that their current plans are being cancelled or that they are being forced to upgrade to a more expensive plan. Over 3.5 million Americans have already recieved these notices and not all of the data is even in yet!
3) Obama Promised
Current health insurance plans are being cancelled despite the fact that President Obama promised Americans at least 23 times that if they like their plan, they can keep their plan. Someone even compiled the video evidence to prove the repeated lie!
4) Why Cancelled
So why are these plans being cancelled. Well, the reason being given is that they are barebones plans that dont meet the minimum qualifications required by the ACA. This sounds kind of okay at first, they are trying to get people better coverage, right? Until you realize that they are also doing stupid things like requiring older women to get plans with unnecessary things like maternity and pediatric coverage and pay more for it. In response, in November, Obama said he is working on a plan to let people keep their plans through 2014. Hey, at least its something.
5) Obamacare Website
You know that fancy new Obamacare website that is supposed to inform us all of what is going on and make it so easy to find new plans and sign up for them? Even that is already costing us tons of money! It cost 1 billion dollars just to create and support that website!
6) Lost Jobs and Hours
Before the ACA went into effect, there were worries that jobs and hours would be lost due to the new health care laws and that has come to fruition. At least 350 different employers have cut back on hours of its employers or outright fired them due to Obamacare. The reason is that part of the ACA says that employers with 50 or more employees have to offer everyone working at least 30 hours a week health insurance policies. Though, you have to admit that the thought was a good one and it sounds like the employers are the real villains here.
7) ACA Penalty
Im sure youve heard a lot about the penalty for not enrolling in healthcare and its all really confusing. Basically, if you arent enrolled in an approved health care plan with an effective date before April 1st, 2014, you could assess a penalty. You get the penalty for not having health insurance for 3 or more months in a row in any year. The first year the fee is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to $285 per family.
But heres the catch, unlike taxes, they cant go after you legally to pay up. They can withhold it from your tax refund, but if you arent owed a refund, they will ask you to send a check or pay some other method but they cant enforce it criminally like they can with owed back taxes. If you are ever owed a refund in the future though, expect it to be taken out then.
8) Avoiding the Penalty
There are actually a lot of ways to avoid the penalty. In fact, the government estimates only about 20 percent of those left without insurance by 2016 will actually have to pay the penalty. If you truly cant afford to sign up for health insurance or if you just forget by the deadline, see if one of these appy to you:
The lowest cost plan available to you is more than 8% of your income
Other economic hardship exemptions
Health insurance contradicts your religious beliefs (you have to belong to a government recognized group)
You are a Native American
You are not an American Citizen
You are in prison
9) Financial Assistance
The news is not all bad, however! You may be hearing a lot about how Obamacare is causing rates to rise and that may be true in some cases, but often if you are willing to buy a new policy through the new state Marketplaces, you can get a plan at a substantially reduced rate or even free depending on your current income. Anyone making less than 400% the poverty level, which is $45,960 for individuals and $94,200 for a family of four can get help paying for health insurance so if this applies to you, check it out!
10) Women and the ACA
Obamacare is actually making great strides to look out for women. Under the new health care laws, women cant be charged more for insurance than men do for the same policy, a practice that 36 states were allowed to do before. Also, women are getting more things in their plans now, such as free mammograms, pap smears and other womens health tests without any copays! All plans will be required to offer at least one type of each kind of birth control with no copay also, for example, pill, IUD, etc.
11) Obamacare and Guns
There is actually a part of the Obamacare law that states that companies running health and wellness programs cant ask about gun usage or ownership. Obama protecting gun rights!
12) Obamacare and Congress
Even Congress is required to participate in Obamacare approved health insurance plans. And even though the White House wasnt mentioned in the mandate, President Obama has already signed up for a health insurance exchange as well, voluntarily.
13) Font Size
There is actually a part of the ACA bill that states that when you get your explanation of benefits from your health insurance company it has to be at least font size 12 or greater. Cause you know, with everything so darn confusing now, a larger font is going to make it all clear!
14) Adult Children
Adult children may actually get a good deal out of Obamacare as they are now able to be added to their parents plans until the age of 26. This is even true if they are not living with their parents, not financially dependent on them or married!
15) Poor Turnout
Obamacare was officially open for enrollment on the state Marketplaces on October 1st. It was expected that a lot of people would rush to sign up for their shiny new government plans but only 106,185 people enrolled in new plans the first month. And only 26,794 of those people used the healthcare.gov website to do it! The biggest problem is that people still dont know what the heck is going on, what they have to do and by what deadline.