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Here are the key facts about the Affordable Care Act. (Obamacare)
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, putting in place comprehensive reforms that improve access to affordable health coverage for everyone and protect consumers from abusive insurance company practices.
Everyone must have health insurance in 2014, or pay a tax. Health insurance exchanges will be open for enrollment October 1, 2013 to make it easier to shop for health plans. Coverage will start on January 1, 2014. Some exchanges will be run by states, and some by the Federal government. Open enrollment through the exchanges ends March 31, 2014. If you don't have insurance by then, you will be subject to the tax unless certain conditions apply. (Update). Nov.14, 2013; Obama administration announced two significant extensions of deadlines for enrollment in health policies sold by government-run insurance exchanges including HealthCare.gov. One extension gives consumers eight extra days, to Dec. 23, to enroll in Obamacare plans that kick in Jan. 1, and gives them until Dec. 31 to actually start paying for those plans. The other extension delays by one month, to next Nov. 15, the opening of enrollment for insurance beginning in 2015. That extension also will give consumers another week on the back end of that enrollment period, which now will close Jan. 15, instead of Dec. 7.
For those Americans who already have health insurance, the only changes you will see under the law are new benefits, better protections from insurance company abuses, and more value for every dollar you spend on health care. If you like your plan you can keep it and you don’t have to change a thing due to the health care law.
(Update). Press Secretary Jay Carney, 11/13/2013
RE; Cancellation notices for those in the individual market.
RE; The idea that you could keep your health care, your insurance.
The President has instructed his team to come up with options for him to review. And you can expect a decision from him and an announcement from him sooner rather than later on options that we can take to address the problem that we’ve been discussing here with regards to those individuals who have had their individual insurance plans canceled because of the transition to the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.
(Update). 11/14/2013 Bowing to pressure, President Barack Obama on Thursday announced changes under his health care law to give insurance companies the option to keep offering consumers plans that would otherwise be canceled.
Those with pre-existing conditions can no longer be excluded (children in 2010, adults in 2014). Health insurance companies can no longer drop those who get sick. Parents can put their children, up to age 26, on their plans. However, if your plan began before March 20, 2010, then it might be "grandfathered in," and not have to provide all these benefits.
For the uninsured or those who don’t get their coverage through work, a key component of the Affordable Care Act will take effect on October 1, when the new Health Insurance Marketplace open for business, allowing millions of Americans to comparison shop for a variety of quality, affordable plans that best meet their health care need.
If You Can't Afford Insurance Medicaid will be extended to those who earn up to 133% of the Federal poverty level. That's $15,281 for an individual, or $31,321.50 for a family of four in 2013.
If You're a Business Owner
The mandate to provide health insurance for your employees has been postponed to January 1, 2015. If you have 50 or fewer employees, you are eligible to look for better employee coverage on the SHOP exchange starting October 1, 2013.
If you have Medicare
The "donut hole" gap in coverage will be eliminated by 2020.
If you live in a state where you are eligible for Medicaid, but the state won't give you coverage, you won't have to pay the tax if you can't get insurance. Those who earn too much for Medicaid will receive tax credits if their income is below 400% of the poverty level. In 2013, that's $45,960 for an individual, or $94,200 for a family of four. The credit is applied monthly, rather than as an annual tax rebate.If You Don't Get Insurance
If you don't enroll in a health insurance plan by the end of open enrollment (March 31, 2014) you won't be able to get insurance through the exchanges.
The Obamacare ruling allows the IRS to tax you 1% of adjusted gross income (above the taxable minimum income), but no less than $95 per adult/$47.50 per child in 2013. These taxes rise in 2015 and 2016. For more, see Obamacare Taxes
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