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Friday, June 29, 2012

Obamacare: What Does It Mean For You?

Obamacare - Affordable Health Insurance
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court upheld the vast majority of President Obama's historic health care overhaul, including the controversial requirement that virtually all Americans must have health care.

The 5-4 decision literally means that over the next few years, there will be major changes that will affect the way that most Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care. The goal of the new law is to help more than 30 million uninsured Americans gain access to affordable health insurance.

What It Means For The Uninsured

The decision leaves in place the so-called individual mandate - the requirement on Americans to have or buy health insurance beginning in 2014 or face a penalty - although many are exempt from that provision.

In 2014, the penalty will be $285 per family or 1% of income, whichever is greater. By 2016, it goes up to $2,085 per family or 2.5% of income.

What It Means For The Insured

Because the requirement remains for people to have or buy insurance, the revenue stream designed to help pay for the law remains in place. So insured Americans may be avoiding a spike in premiums that could have resulted if the high court had tossed out the individual mandate but left other requirements on insurers in place.

What It Means For People With Medicare

The new law protects guaranteed Medicare benefits. It also improves and expands those benefits, such as lower out-of-pocket drug costs and free Medicare-covered preventative care benefits. Yet another benefit is improved access to primary care doctors. In addition, Medicare recipients will keep getting discounts on drugs to close a gap in coverage known as the “doughnut hole.”

What It Means For Young Adults

Millions of young adults up to age 26 who have gained health insurance due to the law will be able to keep it. The law requires insurers to cover the children of those they insure up to age 26. About 2.5 million young adults from age 19 to 25 obtained health coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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