The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a set of comprehensive reforms that improve the quality and affordability of health insurance, increase access to preventive services, and strengthen consumer protections. It is the most significant health insurance law passed in a generation.
Achieving Universal Coverage: In the past, many Americans had trouble finding or keeping affordable insurance coverage. Some had preexisting conditions, which prevented them from buying affordable coverage or being able to get the care they needed. Under the ACA, those with preexisting conditions are no longer discriminated against.
Uninsured Individuals Obtain Coverage Through the ACA’s Marketplaces
In October 2013, enrollment in the online Marketplaces began. During the first and second enrollment periods, a substantial number of previously uninsured people gained coverage. This was especially true for low-income individuals.
During the early enrollment period, some people were confused about the law and its requirements. This confusion was particularly common among the poor, who were the most likely to be uninsured.
The ACA requires all Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine. The penalty is based on your family income and amount of coverage.
If you have an income below 400 percent of the poverty line, you can qualify for tax credits to help you afford insurance. These credits can help you cover your premiums and deductibles.
You can also receive free or low-cost preventive services, such as screenings and vaccinations. In addition, the ACA sets out 10 essential health benefits that all plans must include.
Affordability: The ACA requires that insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of your premiums on medical care and improvements. This helps ensure that people are receiving value for their money and that they aren’t being ripped off by insurers.
Rate Hikes: The ACA gives some states the authority to reject unreasonable rate increases from health insurance companies. This is especially important for people who buy their insurance through the ACA’s exchanges. It has helped save millions of beneficiaries from large rate hikes in some states, including North Carolina.
Employer Mandates: The ACA’s employer mandate forces large firms to offer coverage to employees. Smaller employers can be exempt. This is a complex process that takes into account the size and structure of your workforce, as well as your business’s profit margin.
The employer mandate may be one of the most controversial aspects of the ACA, but it is crucial to its goals. Without the mandate, an estimated 12 million Americans would not have obtained coverage. RAND analyzed the impact of this provision and found that it is critical to promoting the ACA’s goal of providing affordable health coverage.
Enrollment in Coverage: The ACA’s requirement that most Americans have health insurance or pay a fine is key to its aim of providing universal health coverage. The ACA also includes provisions that encourage employers to offer coverage, which reduces the cost of insurance for many workers.
In addition, the ACA establishes a system to enroll residents in state health subsidy programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This makes it possible for some people who are otherwise uninsured to receive financial assistance to purchase health coverage through the ACA’s Exchanges.