Obamacare Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions about Obamacare
Why is the Affordable Care Act called Obamacare?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is called “Obamacare” because the legislation was championed by President Barack Obama. The term was originally a derisive term given to the legislation by political opponents but the Obama administration eventually embraced the term for referring to the PPACA.
FAQs on Individual Health Insurance
Do I have to purchase a health insurance plan?
If you don’t have an existing plan, you will have to purchase a health plan or face a penalty unless you have a qualifying exemption (such as belonging to a federally recognized native American tribe). In order to avoid the penalty, adults without an exemption will need to have health insurance coverage that meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
I already have a health plan, can I stay In my current health plan?
It depends. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, all health plans must meet minimum coverage requirements (known as Essential Health Benefits) along with actuarial value requirements. However, if your plan was in existence on or prior to March 23, 2010, your health plan may be grandfathered and not subject to the requirements of the ACA. Contact your insurance provider to see if they plan to continue the plan in 2014.
Where do I buy a health insurance plan?
The Affordable Care Act also required the creation of state health insurance exchanges where consumers can buy health insurance. Not all health plans available within a state are necessarily offered within a state health insurance exchange. Certain plans, known as off exchange plans, are available outside the state exchange while satisfying the ACA’s Essential Health Benefit requirement. HealthPocket’s plan comparison tools allows consumers to compare plans both on and off exchange. Additionally, the comparison tool provides information on entities that sell a particular health plan.
FAQs for Employers
Do I have to provide health insurance coverage to my employees?
Companies with 50 or more full-time employees must provide health insurance for all workers or face penalties (this penalty begins at $40,000 and increases by $2,000 for every worker above 50) starting in 2016. Learn more about the Employer Mandate for companies with 50 or more employees.
Employers with 25 full time employees or less are not required to provide health insurance. However, the Affordable Care Act encourages providing coverage to employees through tax credits.
Questions concerning the Medicaid program
I previously did not qualify for Medicaid. Will I now qualify due to the Affordable Care Act?
It depends on what state you reside and your income level. Starting in 2014, many states are expanding Medicaid in order to have more people qualify for Medicaid. Find out if your state is expanding Medicaid eligibility standards.