Time will tell if the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, will be good for the nation as a whole. Depending on your politics, you probably already have a prediction.
No matter what your feelings, there seem to be at least some people who stand to benefit from the new rules that will take effect come January 2014. They include:
Those with preexisting conditions. Anyone who’s ever been turned down for insurance, or quoted an astronomical and unaffordable premium because of a preexisting health condition can finally rejoice. Under Obamacare, you cannot be refused coverage or discriminated against if you have a preexisting condition, and it’s estimated that one in two adults does, in fact, have one. By the way, pregnancy counts as a preexisting condition. Children under 18 with preexisting conditions are already reaping this benefit.
Young adults who can’t find full-time work or earn decent wages. Children up to age 26 can stay on their parents’ employer plan even if they have another offer of coverage through an employer. This is regardless of whether or not they are in school, working or even married. This can be helpful for those young adults who would have to pay out of pocket for health insurance. Without full-time jobs, many young adults choose to go without health insurance, or they struggle to afford it. This aspect of the Affordable Care Act gives them a little bit of breathing room until they turn 26, at which time getting their own insurance will become mandatory. After age 26, people are encouraged to choose an insurance provider from the martketplace, or they will will incur a tax. This provision is already in effect.
Those at the age when preventative care becomes more costly. Ever had to pay out of pocket or make a hefty co-pay for a colonoscopy? What about a cervical screening, breastfeeding support or even your yearly flu vaccine? Under Obamacare, these and many other exams, vaccinations and well-visit check-ups will be free of charge. This is a huge savings for people over 40 or 50 especially, for which more routine health exams are recommended. Get the full list of what will be covered here.
Women who use birth control. Whether you’re shelling out money monthly for the pill, or are thinking of getting an IUD, not every insurance company covers birth control options. Until now (except for those who have health plans sponsored by exempt religious employers).
People who simply can’t afford to pay for health insurance. Those who have a very low household income may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Beginning October 1, you can apply online to see if you qualify for free coverage.
If you don’t fall into one of the above categories, such as if you already have an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, you probably won’t notice any major changes come January. For those who are self-employed or own a small business, it’s tricky to say whether or not the Affordable Care Act will help or cost you more. The truth is, we really won’t be able to properly assess the plan until people can begin exploring the marketplace to compare rates and coverage.
Will you be checking out your options in the marketplace after October 1? Share your thoughts in the comments below.