Affordable Care Act: A Healthy Understanding Part 1
LAWTON Okla_ The Affordable
Care Act, Obamacare, or Universal Health Care: no matter what you call it, for
now, it's here to stay.
While it's what
everyone is talking about, very few understand how it will affect them. Whether
you like it or not the Affordable Care Act is probably affecting your life in
some way. Over the next three days, 7News will cut through the politics and get
to the point by explaining just how this new legislation affects your life, and
you'll hear from experts who work closely with the new law every single day.
To most of us,
the daily chatter we hear about the Affordable Care Act just sounds like noise.
It's riddled with politics, numbers and jargon no lay person could understand. So
when it gets right down to it, what do we really know about how the ACA works?
with some basics. Who does it affect? In short, everyone. It will have the most
dramatic impact on the 48 million Americans who don't have or haven't been able
to get insurance. So if that's you, that's when the fabled HealtCare.gov comes
hearing how it doesn't work, there are some actual facts about the website you
really need to know. For one, there is a lot of useful information on the site,
and it is the only confirmed source you should be getting it from. Once signing
up, you can scroll through, look at different plans and figure out what exactly
works for you, just like if you were shopping for an insurance plan anywhere
is a certified application coordinator for the Affordable Care Act. She's seen
HealthCare.gov through good and bad, but she said despite its many problems, it
lays out the details of health coverage in basic terms.
simple to look at," Wallace said. "I've looked at it several times. They're
very easy to compare. It pretty much shows you in plain language."
You should also
find out if you qualify for the premium tax credit. That means you could get
money from the government.
premium tax credit is on a sliding scale," Wallace said. "So, if they're
100% to 400% of the federal poverty limit, you'll get assistance. How much
depends on the type of plan you choose."
There are some
definite groups who really benefit, CEO of Southwestern Medical Center Steve Hyde
still be on their parents' plan until age 26," Hyde said. "I think it's
wonderful that people will not lose health insurance because of a pre-existing
There are some
places where it falls short, though. Those getting hit the hardest are part-time
workers or the unemployed who don't make enough to receive governmental
assistance. That means if you don't make the minimum $11,490 per year to
qualify for the premium tax credit, you must pay full price for a health care
plan, which is not affordable for some.
Now, let's talk
about deadlines. Despite the chatter, we've heard about the low numbers of
enrollment. As of now, there's not much rush. The earliest an insurance plan
bought off the marketplace will take effect is Jan. 1, and open enrollment has
only just begun.
insurance isn't going to start until Jan. 1, so they've still got until Dec. 15
to enroll in a plan that begins Jan. 1. They still have until March 31 to
enroll before they'll start to get penalties."
penalties. One of the most widely scrutinized aspects of the plan is how much
will the penalties be? What does it mean if you're penalized?
penalties range from around $95 on the low end," Wallace said. "It's based on
income, so it can be higher than that."
If you choose
not to enroll in a plan and/or you do not enroll by March 15, that's when
you'll be looking at facing a penalty. There's still question as to how the IRS
will track and asses those penalties. Most experts estimate they probably won't
even be collected until you're filing taxes in the year 2015.
The final major
concern most have is, "If I have my plan, will I get to keep it?" If you were
listening to the president, you've heard this now infamous promise:
like your plan, you can keep your plan!"
longer ringing true. Even with the new so called "administrative fix"
the president has issued, in the end everyone who has a plan from the
individual market will have to give it up.
At the end of
the day, it's important to remember, health care is not one-size-fits-all. Take
the time to look on the website and do your research, just like you would with
any other health care plan.
depends on your situation," Wallace said. "There are a lot of people it can
Now, if you're a business owner concerned about what changes, you'll have
to make concerning the new health care law, .you won't want to miss Part 2 of A
Healthy Understanding. We'll explore how it relates to all things in the