Showing posts with label Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Show all posts

Monday, January 27, 2014

The 4 Ways Health Care Has Changed For Your Retirement Fund

Most retirees depend upon Medicare for health care. The Affordable Care Act made changes that continue to go into effect throughout the rest of the first quarter of the century. Your retirment fund should be on the forefront of your mind and every aspect should be accounted for. For many senior citizens the changes affect how much of their retirement fund is allocated for medical care. Although there are many changes, four stand out in particular.

Preventative Services

Medicare insurance companies have to provide some preventative checkup services for free that required a co-pay in the past. Mammograms and colonoscopies are two of the screenings now completely covered. A yearly check-up is now also included as part of the free service. However, to pay for the new services many insurance companies are cutting other services that they were not required to pay for but covered as part of their marketing. For example, many Medicare enrollees no longer have free access to health clubs through their policy. The key here is to remember that changes have been made and to fully research what you are covered for exactly. 

Pharmaceutical Drugs

Greater access to pharmaceutical drugs at a discounted price is part of the ACA. The “doughnut hole” is being discarded, which can save many seniors several thousand dollars a year. Seniors can continue to use an ongoing drug treatment program without fear of running out of money halfway through. A greater percentage of coverage has gone into effect for both brand name and generic drugs. 

Medicare Advantage

Those who are on Medicare Advantage may feel that they have lost the advantage the program provided. Known for its low cost care, the program is suffering under the ACA. Many insurance companies are raising the cost for the program, and the services it provides. It has become much more competitive with the standard Medicare Part B supplement program. Many seniors are finding it financially wise to meet with a Medicare insurance agent to compare plans and finding the best option for them. 

Dental Care

The greatest change is one that did not happen in spite of the desires of many seniors. The ACA did not provide any additional coverage for dental care. Medicare does not cover any treatment for the general health of the teeth, leaving seniors to handle expensive bills on their own. Fortunately for them places such as Ivory Dental Centre exist to provide excellent care for reasonable fees. Many dental practices also extend credit to help patients with extensive bills.

Managing retirement and health care remains a juggling act. The changes to Medicare make part of the task easier, but care is needed to understand all the options. Make sure you contact your insurance representative and ask if the changes made will affect you and make sure you fully understand everything that is going on with your funds. Preparation is going to be needed as you enter retirement, make sure nothing goes unnoticed.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Preparing for High Health Care Costs After Retirement

Preparing for retirement can be difficult. Rising healthcare costs don’t make it any easier. This is especially true for older people who need to see a doctor, dentist or ophthalmologist more often than other younger people. Anyone who wants to retire will need to prepare for them.

What Changes Are Retirees Facing?

The landscape of the healthcare industry has changed significantly over the last decade. Here are some reasons healthcare costs are becoming more burdensome to people after retirement:

· Fewer employers are offering healthcare plans to retirees. The percentage has shrunk from 66% to 33% since the early 90s.

· Average healthcare costs have increased significantly in recent years. In 2013 a retiree would need to have saved between $220,000 and $360,000 to cover their healthcare expenses.

· Medicare cuts have made it more difficult for some seniors to find providers that offer healthcare, which means they often have to pay out of pocket.

There are also other changes that help some retirees while hurting others. The new Affordable Care Act is one of them. Many people with preexisting healthcare problems will be able to save money on their healthcare costs when the ACA goes into effect, but others are going to have to pay more.

Healthcare costs will continue to be a problem for many retirees in the near future. You will need to make sure that you prepare for them.

Preparing for Healthcare Costs Before You Retire

Anyone that plans on retiring before they are eligible for Medicare will need to be prepared to pay for expensive healthcare costs. Even if you have Medicare you will still need to pay a lot of money for your care. Here are some ways that you can prepare for these costs.

Start Saving Before Retirement

You will need to start saving money long before you retire. Try putting as much money as possible into your IRA, 401K and other tax sheltered savings accounts. One expert advises that you will have a 90% chance of being able to cover your healthcare costs if you save $360,000 before retirement. You will want to save even more if you have existing medical problems such as diabetes or eye problems. Seeing an endocrinologist or ophthalmologist will be easier if you have prepared for it ahead of time.

Plan for Higher Costs if You Are High Income

Medicare Part D beneficiaries making over $170,000 a year will need to pay more for their benefits. People making between $170,001 and $214,000 will pay 40% more plus $11.60 more for coverage. Those making over $428,000 will be paying 200% more plus an extra $66.60 every month. Anyone that exceeds these incomes will need to plan for these costs.

Choose the Right Plans Before and After Retirement

Both patients receiving Medicare and those seeking private insurance on the exchange will have a number of options. You will need to find a plan that offers the coverage that you need. If you have serious medical conditions then you may need to choose a plan with higher premiums and lower out of pocket expenses. It may be a good idea to purchase a silver or platinum plan on the health exchange if you don’t qualify for Medicare, because these plans are cheaper for people who have many healthcare costs.

If you are making less than 250% of the federal poverty line then you may qualify for an enhanced silver plan. You may be able to deduct a lot of your income after retirement so you should speak with your insurance agent or an ACA Navigator to see if you can qualify.

About the author: Kalen is finance and consumer writer. He shares tips on preparing for new changes in a changing world.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

How The Affordable Care Act May Impact Medical Debt

There are many Americans that are struggling to pay down some of their medical bills. They may be wondering how they can find support to eliminate some of these burdens and get on with their life. The new Affordable Care Act penned in to law by President Obama is slated to go in to effect soon. Some people are wondering whether this will provide help with medical bills, which would be beneficial for many. There are several new changes that will be ushered in by this law, so it may be worthwhile to review some of the pros and cons that it will bring.

First, the new Affordable Care Act will simply make it more accessible for people to get healthcare coverage. While this won't directly affect existing medical bills, it may provide people with much needed support as they move forward. If they are continuing to receive medical treatment for an illness, this provision may just make it more affordable. This can reduce the overall burden that they have to pay out of pocket. If they can't afford to pay for a private health insurance package, some people might qualify for Medicaid. The limit for qualifying for this package has been raised to 133% of the federal poverty level.

The Affordable Care Act will also provide additional support to families that are hovering above this poverty level. If a family of four makes less than $94,000, then they will be able to qualify to receive support. Some people may be able to get tax credits, which can offset much of what they pay for their health insurance package. This could prove to be helpful, since many people currently pay high out of pocket costs. These types of benefits may seem small, but the cumulative effect may allow many people to get out of medical debt.

There are a few other benefits that may be available to different kinds of consumers out there. Some people may work with a large employer that does not currently offer health benefits. With the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, these large businesses will start to receive tax credits for providing health insurance. Additionally, families can claim their kids up to age 26 on their healthcare plans. This will provide them with much more flexibility in the way that they offer coverage. If they are struggling with medical debt, they could expect to get a lot of support going forward.

Some people may want to consider a few of the cons that the program may introduce in the future. There are some sources that are predicting that some insurers will be passing on the costs of the legislation to their customers. This may cause premiums to go up over time, which will be challenging for them. There are also many people who might need to get additional testing to confirm a diagnosis. It can be important for people to consider whether they want to pay for these additional diagnostic tests. They may not be able to afford some of the extra costs that this will bring to them.

In all, a vast majority of consumers can expect to get assistance with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. They likely won't be able to get direct help with a medical bill that they already have. Some people may need to think about checking out some of the insurance deals available through the exchange system being implemented. This could prove to help people find out whether they can get a little help to get back on track. This may be enough for people to eliminate some of their more extensive medical bills.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What Will the Health Exchanges Mean for Seniors?

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...
English: President Barack Obama's signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Affordable Care Act will go into effect on January 1, 2014. Most people are trying to prepare for the new law to go into effect. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about the law that may prevent people from making informed decisions. The effect that the health exchanges will have on seniors is especially confusing. You will need to know what the health exchanges are and how they will impact you. Here are some things you should know.

Health Exchanges Won’t Replace Medicare

The federal government recently hired Kelton, an independent consulting firm, to find out what seniors believe about Medicare. Their new survey found that 86% of seniors believe that the new health exchanges will replace Medicare. A number of other seniors believe that the eligibility age for Medicare will increase when the law goes into effect.

Many seniors are foregoing healthcare, choosing not to fill prescriptions or looking for a part-time job because they think that they won’t receive the assistance they need. They may even forego getting assisted living such as by visiting a senior neighborhood living in Reading, PA.

Health officials want to make sure that they understand the new law so that they can make better decisions. Here are some of the misconceptions they want to clarify:

  • Eligible seniors will still receive Medicare after the ACA goes into effect.
  • The ACA will not raise the eligibility age for Medicare.
  • They shouldn’t expect to pay more for prescription drugs.
  • They can begin enrolling in Medicare in October.

Eligible seniors should still apply for Medicare. However, they may find that Medicare won’t cover all the services they need. You will want to know how to buy private insurance on the exchanges as well.

Tips for Buying Insurance on the Exchanges

Many seniors will want to consider buying insurance on the health exchanges. They may not be old enough to qualify for Medicare yet or would rather have a more comprehensive policy. Here are some guidelines to help you choose.

Understanding Your Rights

The Affordable Care Act carries a number of changes for seniors looking to buy health care. Insurers will no longer be allowed to disqualify them from receiving coverage based on their age or preexisting conditions. However, they will be allowed to charge seniors up to three times as much for coverage.

Tips for Reducing Premiums

The health care law prohibits insurers from setting higher premiums based on preexisting conditions. However, it does allow them to charge higher premiums to people who smoke. You may want to consider kicking the habit if you want to reduce your premiums.

You may also be able to receive lower premiums if you participate in an employer sponsored health plan. You should consider doing so if you are still working.

Look Into Subsidies

You will want to see if you are eligible for any of the subsidies. Anyone who is making less than 400% of the poverty line will be eligible for subsidies. You will want to apply for these subsidies if you are below this income threshold.

Understand the Health Plan Classifications

You will need to decide whether you want to pay lower premiums every month or lower deductibles. This will depend on what services you believe you will need in the future.

You can already offset your insurance premiums by paying higher deductibles and copays. The health exchanges will make it easier for you to choose a plan that meets your needs. You can choose between bronze, silver, gold and platinum policies. The bronze policies offer the lowest premiums but the highest deductibles. Premiums will be higher while deductibles will be lower with the other plans.

About the Author: Kalen is a financial advice writer with an MBA. He shares tips to help people of all ages plan for the future.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

5 Tips for Discussing Health Care Reform at Your Business

When a new change to federal law and how businesses operate makes national news, chances are your employees will be concerned about how it affects them. You may or may not have to change how you approach health insurance for your employees in light of the Affordable Care Act, but regardless, your employees are probably worried about how things will change, if things will change and what it means for them. The savvy business owner does what she can to understand the impact of the law on her business. Your plan for tackling these issues at your business consists of five simple steps.

1. Hire a Speaker

Contact a speakers bureau to book a professional speaker with expertise on health care reform and how businesses deal with insurance issues. Even if you have a fairly good idea of how the changes to law may influence your business, you’re probably not an expert on the subject. It helps to have an expert lecturer to deliver the message to your employees.

2. Provide Information

The actual documents put out by the government explaining the Affordable Care Act are tremendously long and confusing to those not familiar with legalese. Your employees don’t have to know everything about the Affordable Care Act, but it would help if they had access to a few key points explained in everyday language. Talk with your hired professional speaker about providing a print-out or a digitally distributed list of key bullet points every employee ought to know. Use the U.S. Small Business Administration information for additional help.

Don’t forget to look into how your specific state is handling the changes and point your employees to the necessary information about the affordable insurance exchange.

3. Explain the Changes

In addition to your bullet points highlighting the basic things to know about the changes to federal law, highlight any changes that will directly impact your employees, or if there won’t be any changes, explain why. With all of the information from a myriad of sources floating around, your employees need to know that they can zero in on the actual points that will matter to them. As their employer, you’re in the best position to provide an explanation of what will be happening at your individual business.

4. Offer a Timeline

If there are changes to come, include a timeline in your print-out or digital distribution of information. It helps employees to visualize the changes by organizing them by month and year. A calendar complete with deadlines highlighted — days on which employees need to provide information or their last days to switch insurers, for example — will prove especially helpful in making the transition as seamless as possible. Send out an additional reminder at least a week in advance of each deadline.

5. Invite a Discussion

As part of your professional speaker lecture on the topic, invite employees to pose questions and discuss concerns with the expert in a forum or debate held after the lecture. In addition to addressing questions and concerns the day of the lecture, keep your office and human resources representatives’ offices open for additional issues that arise. If possible, put up a forum on a locked employee-only website that allows for additional debate, FAQs and discussion about the changes (or lack of changes) to come. If employees feel like you’re listening to them and addressing their concerns, they’re less likely to become stressed out about the new laws.

Your employees need to know how health care reform will affect them, if at all, and your business is the only organization that can really address the issue with them, as it’s going to impact every business differently. Clear up the confusion and anxiety with your health care reform discussion plan. With the help of experts and an open forum for questions and concerns, worrying about the health care changes to come will become less of an issue, and your employees can better focus on their daily tasks.

About the Author: John Raines is a small-business owner in Iowa. He frequently relies on professional speakers to help address important issues, goals and changes that impact his business.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Health Care Law Will Change Employee Wellness Programs

In an era of rising health care costs, many employers are turning to employee wellness programs to keep their workers healthy and to keep health insurance coverage costs down. According to the National Compensation Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of all employees have access to some sort of wellness program benefit; programs range from discounts at local fitness facilities and educational programs to comprehensive, closely-monitored programs designed to help employees better manage chronic conditions like diabetes or make significant lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking. In exchange for undergoing screenings and meeting other goals, employees also often receive discounts on their health care coverage premiums.

While employee wellness programs are popular, some experts question their value. Because participation is voluntary and companies are prohibited by law from discriminating against employees on the basis of health screening results and their participation in wellness programs, experts point out that employees may be less than truthful (“I quit smoking!” “I go to the gym four times a week!”) to qualify for the discounts, and that the result is often higher costs to employers with few measurable benefits. However, federal lawmakers disagree with the notion that the programs are not effective — to the point that significant provisions for employee wellness programs were included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.

Health Insurance Discounts

One of the primary reasons that employees opt to participate in their employers’ wellness programs is that participation often translates to discounts on health insurance premiums. With the cost of coverage going up every year, especially when an employee is paying for coverage for the whole family, voluntarily participating in the employee wellness program and agreeing to engage in healthy behaviors usually means at least a small break on the cost of health insurance.

However, businesses are limited as to how much of a discount they can offer. Under federal law, the maximum discount for signing up for an employee wellness benefit is 20 percent. Employers recoup those costs in the form of fewer health care claims and an overall lower cost for their organization, as insurance carriers give their best rates to their healthiest customers.

Realizing that the bigger the incentive, the greater the participation, the government is increasing the maximum insurance discount to 30 percent for employee wellness participants, with the potential for discounts to reach 50 percent if the program is designed to help people stop smoking. At the same time, the law also allows employers to levy penalties of up to 30 percent of the cost of health coverage should employee participants fail to meet the specific health standards established by the insurer, or for engaging in unhealthy behaviors like smoking. The law does account for employees who cannot participate in wellness programs for documented reasons by allowing them to meet different health standards or participate in alternative programs.

Grants for Wellness Programs

While the majority of larger employers — those with more than 100 employees — offer some type of employee wellness program, many smaller businesses cannot afford the costs associated with managing such a program (on average, about $150 per employee per year). The PPACA aims to help smaller employers develop wellness programs by establishing a $200 million grant program designed to pay for the costs associated with employee wellness. Employers with fewer than 100 employees implementing programs that meet certain criteria (for example, making efforts to improve employee engagement and create a healthy environment) can apply for the funding. These grants will not only improve the availability of employee wellness programs, but the money will create opportunities for public health professionals, as most small businesses do not have the resources to maintain a wellness specialist on staff. (Click here for additional resources on online MPH degree programs and opportunities in the public health field). 

CDC Support

In addition to increased funding, employers can expect additional support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their efforts to get employees healthy. Under the Affordable Health Care Act, employers of all sizes will have access to the CDC’s tools to analyze, evaluate and measure their wellness efforts. These tools will help employers more effectively manage their programs and maximize their cost savings.

The PPACA will completely change the face of health care in the U.S., including the way employers manage their employee wellness programs. Programs will vary by employer, but expect to see a great deal more attention paid to these popular employee benefits.

About the Author: After earning a master’s in public health, Lara Mack went on to serve as the director of employee wellness for a large financial services provider.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How the Affordable Care Act Could Affect Small-Business Taxes

Small-business taxes are about to become significantly more complicated thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Understanding and planning for these changes now instead of later will give your small business a competitive edge in the coming tax years. 

Because of PPACA, small-business owners need qualified accountants more than ever before. If a career in accounting interests you, then now is a good time to find out more about available online graduate tax programs. The IRS has a good resource center for more in-depth exploration, but it's no replacement for a qualified accountant.

The PPACA Contains No Mandate for Small Businesses

All small businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from any employer responsibility requirements. They can take advantage of tax credits and health insurance exchanges if they want to offer coverage.

Starting in 2015, businesses with over 50 employees that either do not offer coverage or do not offer “affordable” coverage will have to pay a fine.

· In businesses with more than 50 workers, the employee's share of the premium for his or her own policy should cost no more than 9.5 percent of his or her wages. If the employee's share of premiums exceeds 9.5 percent of wages, then the coverage is not considered “affordable.” Businesses can offer insurance for family members, but employee contributions toward those policies are not subject to the 9.5 percent premium cap.

· Businesses with more than 50 employees that offer no health insurance will pay a $2,000 fine for each employee after the first 30. For example, if you have 53 employees, you will pay $2,000 x 23, or $46,000, if one of your employees receives a tax credit for buying insurance through an exchange.

· Businesses with more than 50 employees that do not meet the 9.5 percent requirement will also pay a penalty. These companies will pay $3,000 for every employee that purchases individual coverage through a health insurance exchange and receives either a premium tax credit or a cost-sharing reduction.

Tax Credits Small Businesses Can Get for Offering Health Insurance

Small businesses meeting the following requirements are eligible for a tax credit to offset the cost of purchasing health insurance for employees:

  • Employ fewer than 25 full-time employees. Workers count as full-time if they work 30 or more hours per week. Two part-time workers is the equivalent of one full-time worker under the law. Seasonal employees can work no more than 120 days per year or else they will count as part-time workers.
  • Pay average annual wages of $50,000 or less
  • Contribute 50 percent of total premium cost for employees

Currently, small businesses are eligible for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of their contributions toward employee premiums. In 2014, the credit rises to 50 percent of contributions as long as insurance is purchased through state insurance exchanges. The 50 percent credit is offered for two years.

Tax Planning Issues to Talk Over With Your Accountant

When you're deciding what you want to do about offering health insurance, these are some questions that you should address with your accountant:

  • How many employees should I hire? If you're near the 50-employee cutoff, then you may want to make sure that you have no more than 50 employees to avoid penalties. Also, you may want to be careful to limit your seasonal employees to 120 days. 
  • Will I benefit from purchasing employee coverage from state health insurance exchanges? Combining the tax credit with potentially lower premiums from the state health insurance exchange may lower your overall costs. Alternatively, a private insurance option may be more affordable. 
  • Should I offer coverage if I have more than 50 employees? Your accountant can calculate whether coverage would cost more than the penalty for not having it. You'll also need to weigh whether insurance is an important benefit for hiring and retaining employees.
  • What procedures should I change? Work with your accountant to adjust your HR and payroll procedures to meet the new reporting requirements.

Finally, tell your accountant that you expect to be kept informed about changes in the health care laws. In all likelihood, the law will undergo changes and modifications as it rolls out. Working closely with your accountant to navigate the changes could save your small business a significant amount of money.

About the Author: Gary Robertson, M.A., C.P.A., provides tax planning services for small businesses.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect Medicare?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is set to take full effect next year. The legislation is set to cut $716 billion from Medicare and will bring some significant changes to the program. The Affordable Care Act has already expanded Medicare coverage to include preventive care, and it’s slowly closing the coverage gap in Medicare Part D. 

The Affordable Care Act aims to improve the quality of hospital care for seniors by rewarding hospitals that provide quality care with increased funding, and penalizing those who provide poorer care with decreased funding. Although the legislation does cut some Medicare programs, these cuts aren’t intended to affect benefits; instead, they’re meant to increase Medicare’s cost-effectiveness by moving the money to areas of the program where it can be put to better use.

How Are Medicare Benefits Changing?

The Affordable Care Act broadens existing Medicare benefits, making it possible for seniors on Medicare to receive preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs. Seniors can now get check-ups, cancer screenings, vaccines and other forms of preventive care for free. These changes have been in effect since 2011.

Another important change in Medicare benefits under the Affordable Care Act concerns the so-called “donut hole,” or the coverage gap in Medicare Part D. Under Medicare Part D, many seniors must pay for their own prescription drug costs. As of 2012, seniors receiving Medicare became eligible for discounts on brand-name and generic prescription drugs. These discounts will grow each year until 2020, when the coverage gap should close completely, and Medicare recipients will only need to pay co-pays for their prescription drugs.

The Affordable Care Act also aims to reduce federal spending on Medicare Advantage, a form of supplemental Medicare insurance administered by private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage, which was originally intended to reduce federal spending on Medicare, has turned out to cost the government 14 percent more per patient than traditional Medicare. It is hoped that cutting federal spending on Medicare Advantage will lower overall Medicare costs.

What Is the Value-Based Payment Provision?

Under the Affordable Care Act, providers who offer high-quality care to Medicare patients stand to receive a one percent increase in Medicare payments in 2014, and a two percent increase in Medicare payments in 2015. Conversely, those who provide a lower standard of care — as measured by high re-admittance rates and patient dissatisfaction — stand to lose up to two percent of their payments from Medicare by 2015.

In this way, the Affordable Care Act intends to improve the quality of care seniors receive.Quality care is something that professionals in the field will have to focus on. Though it may have gone unmentioned before, health care employees had better take notice or suffer the consequences. Human services will be especially influential in this regard and it is anticipated that more positions in human resources will be created to address the importance of quality care. To learn more about earning a human services degree online, you can research online for a program that fits you. 

Where Are the Medicare Cuts Coming From?

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the anticipated total cost of Medicare over the next 10 years will be about $7.5 trillion. Between 2013 and 2022, the Affordable Care Act plans to cut $716 billion from Medicare. Of that amount, $415 billion comes from federal payments to care providers and private insurance companies. The rest of the cuts come from parts of the program that are not considered to be cost effective, such as the Medicare Disproportionate Share Program, which compensates hospitals for treating lower-income Medicare recipients who do not have supplemental insurance.

How Does the Affordable Care Act Change Medicare Funding?

The Affordable Care Act changes Medicare funding by reallocating the $716 billion in cuts to other parts of the program, where it’s believed the money can be put to better use. The new law will also levy a 0.9 percent tax on members of the top tax bracket in order to raise money for the new law.

The legislation also allows for the creation of an Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will have the authority to recommend reduced provider payments if Medicare spending grows too fast in the future. Payments from Medicare to health care providers will also grow at a slower rate. These two things are intended to keep Medicare costs down in the future. Medicare is expected to cost $900 billion per year by 2022.

The Affordable Care Act has expanded Medicare benefits to include preventive care like checkups, vaccines and cancer screenings. Over the next several years, it will gradually close the coverage gap in Medicare Part D, which provides prescription drug coverage to seniors. It will also cut spending on Medicare Advantage and tie providers’ payments to the quality of the care they give. The Affordable Care Act intends to fund these changes and keep Medicare solvent in the future with $716 billion in cuts to other parts of the program and with a 0.9 percent tax increase on members of the top bracket.

About the Author: Contributing blogger Alisa Martin has more than 15 years of experience in public health policy. She currently works with his local government to improve public health services.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

How Obamacare Is Helping People Get Health Insurance

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...
English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Efforts to transform the American Health Care System in the so-called Obamacare plan seem not to be working as it was promised. Observers are afraid of a disastrous result with democrats and republicans setting up their own health marketplaces that have to be ready for the consumers to make a health care choice by October 1, 2013. Considered by some as just an experiment, Obamacare is not helping people get health insurance because applying for it is not easy anyway, and many people are absolutely clueless how to make and educate decision when it comes to health insurance, if nobody seems interested at all in educating citizens about the insurance options. 

Decreasing Rather Than Increasing Your Chances 

Curiously, it is supposed that the best and easy way to receive the benefits of the Obamacare plan is through your employer, but everyday more and more companies reduce their number of workers or reduce the working hours to avoid providing their employees with such health coverage. People who are left out of a company plan is expected to approach the health marketplaces to come in October, but there is not enough information on how to purchase coverage and how much they will have to spend on it. 

Getting Ready for a Duteous Application 

Now, the government said that it would never be so easy to buy health care insurance, and that anyone could do it much in the same fashion they buy at Amazon or similar online stores. However, what Obama did not say is that the application includes around 15 pages that require the completion of nearly 21 steps and that many of these steps require further answers to more questions and requirements. Moreover, after the application is submitted, at least three federal agencies will review it to check your identity and veracity of the information, including a verification performed by the IRS. 

Shopping at Amazon, Dream On 

If you think it will be that easy to buy health care insurance when the enrollment season begins this fall, you are probably dreaming. Obama's Affordable Care Act requires the above process to learn more about your financial situation, because it is meant to provide generous support to lower income people. However and regardless of your financial status, once approved for Obamacare, the hardest part is choosing a health plan because all the information that is provided in pure insurance jargon that not all people understand along with a number of additional steps before you can actually purchase health insurance. 

Fortunately, for some, unfortunately for many others, taking out health insurance will be mandatory starting in 2014, so that American citizens are uncertain about what the future is bringing. For people who actually have health insurance through Medicaid or Medicare, it is expected that nothing will change, as they can continue under such health coverage, same as workers who receive other types of health insurance from their employers. However, for people who do not carry health insurance yet, the panorama is not promising, but seems to add more hassle than benefit to their lives.

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