Understanding ObamaCare

Since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called Obama Care the norms surrounding health insurance have changed in the US- and the biggest changes are yet to come as many of the most important provisions of the act kick in on January 1, 2014.

There have been many challenges to the Act and, at times it appeared that many of the provisions would never see the “light of day.” Many lawsuits were filed and many candidates made the repeal of the reform act the centerpiece of their campaigns.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation more than half of Americans said they were “confused’ by the new healthcare system. For some, the short-term effects of Obama Care are minor. Your financial status, whether or not you presently have health insurance or your age are key factors affecting your status within the reforms.

For people presently insured, the changes are significant but not life changing. The biggest challenge may be years from now based on the future cost of policies and whether or not your employer can afford the same level of coverage that’s available now.

The uninsured are most likely the big winners when the Act is fully effective. For low income individuals subsidies and/or Medicaid enrollment will provide coverage
For individuals and families. Higher income earners will be able to access state or federal exchanges who may be able to save money over present alternatives on the private insurance market. Without question, the fact that an enrollee can’t be denied coverage based on preexisting conditions along with elimination of lifetime maximums provides catastrophic protection for all that enroll.

Seniors aren’t likely to be big benefactors with Obama Care. Spending cuts in Medicare and Medicare Advantage  may be as high as $455 billion over the next decade according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Obama Care will hurt taxpayers, as an estimated fifty percent of the cost of the program will be in the form of new taxes.

The Poor benefit from the law enactment, as Medicaid will now provide for Americans with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty line. An estimated 15 million more people will be able to get coverage.

Unemployed Americans looking for jobs may suffer as a result of the legislation as employers may be reluctant to hire additional employees due to onerous premiums or incurred penalties if they don’t offer insurance to their employees.

Young adults are significantly impacted by the legislation. The young and the healthy are strong-armed into taking insurance they don’t want or be faced with penalties if they don’t purchase coverage. Eventually, the penalties assessed may be as high as $2,085 per year.

Small businesses, companies with less than 25 employees may be winners in Obama Care as they have typically been hit hard by higher premiums per employee than bigger companies. In Obama Care, small business owners will receive significant tax breaks against the amounts they will pay for health insurance. They also may be able to take advantage of lower premiums as a result of accessing the insurance exchanges.

Doctors are generally dissatisfied with Obama Care. The acute shortage of primary care physicians is heightened by the legislation, as more Americans will seek care. Physicians are also angered by the reduction in Medicare rates they receive. Of course, patients may suffer as a result of the aforementioned primary physician shortage fueling fears of crowded offices and watered down care.

Healthcare workers may find the workload associated with an increase in the insured population as significant but job security will likely be better than ever before.

So, as you can see the implications attached to the enactment of the legislation are going to impact different Americans in different ways and, depending on the behaviors of the population may have far reaching economic consequences. The last batch of significant provisions takes effect January 1, 2014.

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