How Does President Obama's Health Care Reform Affect My Family?
The Supreme Court voted on June 28, 2012, to uphold so-called "Obamacare." The Health Care Reform Act, officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010. It promises to put Americans and small businesses in control of their health care, instead of allowing insurance companies to make the decisions. But exactly how will this law affect you and your family? Read on about the benefits you and your children could receive through this new legislation.
If you and your family are currently insured:
If you are currently insured, your coverage will stay the same. However, you may have increased benefits with the following reforms:
Discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions will not be allowed.As of September 2010, insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.
Adult children can stay on a family plan until the age of 26. As of September 2010, children who lose coverage when they graduate from college can rejoin their parents' plan. Both married and unmarried dependents qualify for this coverage. Beginning in 2014, this benefit extends to include adult children who also have an offer of coverage through their employer.
Your premiums and costs will not go up. People insured through their employer will likely see lower premiums. In addition, if you like the plan you have through your employer, you will be able to keep it. Your coverage will not change.
If you buy your own insurance, the reform limits what you pay out of pocket. You are not required to pay more than a set percentage of your income on coverage. Additionally, if you like the coverage you have now, you can keep it.
If you and your family are currently uninsured:
The reform allows you and your family to have new choices in the insurance marketplace and receive tax credits based on your income. The following are additional benefits you have if you are currently uninsured:
Limits on how much you have to pay to receive health care coverage. Depending on your income, you and your family may be eligible for tax credits. The bill provides tax credits and reduced cost sharing for families with modest income, and sets a maximum percentage of your income that can be spent on premiums. The maximum percent is based on how much your family earns.
Health insurance companies are required to offer coverage regardless of health status. Companies cannot increase rates or drop you from their coverage if you get sick. In addition, insurance companies cannot deny coverage for children with pre-existing conditions.
If you have been uninsured for six months and have a pre-existing condition, a new program called the high-risk pool provides you with affordable insurance. This will provide temporary protection until 2014, when insurance companies can no longer deny coverage based on a person's health.
A new website will be available with information to help consumers choose which coverage is best for them based on their needs. In addition, the new insurance marketplace provides consumer assistance offices with trained "experts" to help individuals navigate the health care choices and enroll in the plan that is best for them.
The government will not interfere with any treatments you receive. Decisions will be made between you and your doctor, just as they are today.
These benefits are just a small portion of the highly complex legislation. Visit the White House's website for more information.