The Basics of Health Care Reform

Health Care Reform Basic Information

The Health Care Reform Act is set to make a lot of changes to our health insurance policies. With new services, new rules and new plans, it is important for you to know how healthcare is going to change and how that will impact your life.

Individual Mandate

You will have to wait until 2014 for most modifications to enter into effect, but it is pretty clear that mandatory coverage is probably the most significant reform. This Individual Mandate specifies that most people will be required to have a health plan as long as they can afford one. If a plan is not provided by an employer, they will need to purchase one themselves or face the possibility of being penalized.

What if I can not Afford Coverage

One health care benefit comes in the form of subsidies awarded by the government that are available for citizens that might find it difficult to pay for a health plan on their own. In order to qualify, you would need your household income to be anywhere between 133% and 400% the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). In real money, this means between $11,490 and $45,960 for an individual or between $23,550 and $94,200 for a household with four members. These subsidies take the form of tax credits that are applied directly to your monthly premiums for health insurance and they will be directly proportionate to your position within the FPL. For further assistance, you can use this calculator in order to find out what your subsidy will be.
Health Insurance Subsidy Calculator

Another important change comes in the form of a new open enrollment period. Initially, it will occur between October 1st, 2013 and March 31st, 2014 and it will continue each year, although the time frame will be shorter subsequently, from October 15th to December 7th. People who fail to get a health insurance policy during this period will have another opportunity only when an appropriate event takes place such as losing a previous workplace policy, having a baby, getting married etc.

Benefit Plans available January 2014

There will also be a fixed number of health plans available statewide. All the changes will go into effect starting January 1st, 2014 and will affect all non-Grandfathered plans. Each state will have an option of several different insurance carriers. California, for example, will be covered by Kaiser, Blue Shield, Anthem and United Healthcare.

12 Different Plans will be available

There will be 12 different plans to choose from. While there will be significant changes between them, they will all be required to include a list of essential health benefits such as Maternity and Newborn Care, Pediatric Services, Ambulatory Patient Care, Hospitalization and others. You can read about all the services and details included in these plans here.

Health Care Reform Benefit Plans