Some Facts About the Affordable Care Act
So D.C. is feeling the shutdown more than anywhere else in the country. Many of you who are federal workers may be reading this from your couch, where you may not have felt entirely motivated to change out of your jammies today because of the government shutdown.
As most of us in D.C. know, the shutdown has been brought about due to the folks in Congress disagreeing about the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” as it’s usually known. Agree with it or don’t, (as long as you’re not a member of Congress and shutting the whole show down because you disagree) Obamacare is on its way to going into effect.
So what does this mean for you? Here is it, the attempted non-partisan DC on Heels facts about what Obamacare means for you as a person living in the USA.
I already have health insurance through my work or a government program!
Great! Not much changes for you. You’re not going to lose your health insurance or suddenly have to pay out the nose. And starting Jan. 1, your insurer can’t deny or cancel your policy for any reason.
But the government shut down, so what about the things that were supposed to go into effect Oct. 1?
They still go into effect.
I think some things already changed.
They did! In March 2010, when the Affordable Care Act was passed, many insurance providers made changes to comply. If you have children, you can now keep them on your insurance plan until they’re 26 years old, at which point they have to find their own coverage (via employment, government program or self-coverage)/ Your insurance provider can’t deny coverage to minors for pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or cancer, and your insurer can’t decide they’re done paying for you if you have a major life-threatening condition that requires expensive surgery or medication.
But I like not having insurance and now I have to spend money on it.
This is the biggest complaint against many of those who are anti-Obamacare. Starting Jan. 1, uninsured Americans will have to pay a fee — either $95 or 8 percent of their income, whichever is larger. But that’s only if you make enough money to have to pay annual income taxes. So if you’re really on the low end of things ($9,750 for a single person in 2012), you’re exempt and won’t be charged. If you’re above that, however, there are subsidies you can sign up for that will help you pay for health insurance costs.
What’s the big idea?
The theory is that the Affordable Care Act, in providing affordable healthcare to all Americans, will benefit the insurance companies with regulated signups while preventing them from price-jacking those who are experiencing a crisis. In addition, insured Americans are more likely to receive preventative care, which will cut down on the number of emergency room visits, expensive surgeries and medications needed. Part of the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover certain expenses such as prescriptions and preventative care — like cancer screenings.
Feel free to argue in the comments! With Congress on vacation, someone’s got to keep the arguing lively in D.C.!
Health editor, Tini Howard is a writer, aerialist and foodie from the East Coast.