ObamaCare – Getting Serious About ObamaCare

By on June 19, 2013

fighting1The wrangling over Obamacare continues in Congress. Meanwhile everywhere else implementation rolls on. In slightly over six months, most legal residents of the United States will be required to have health care coverage. Those currently covered are in the best position — see below. Others need to get busy.






If you are Uninsured Now:

You are not required to obtain coverage until January 1, 2014. However it’s always good to consider shopping now and see what’s out there. Let’s be honest, there are few good reasons to wait until the last minute to get coverage. Most states have something on line to guide you. Start checking now. Many companies will sign you up ahead of the deadline. After January, you pay a fine on your income tax if you aren’t covered.


If you are already insured:

The heat is off. Stick with your current plan. Yes, rates are going up but that is because insurance companies want to rake in as much as they can while they can. If you want to change for any reason, it’s not too early to shop around.


If you have been previously turned down because of a pre-existing conditions:

Things are about to change. Insurance exchanges obliged by the affordable Care Act will be offering you insurance starting October 1, 2013 with a January 1st effective date. From here on in, it’s the law: you can’t be denied coverage, and this has no relationship to whether you are employed or not.


If you are covered by a group plan at work or through another organization:

If you are part of a small group health insurance plan now, consider staying it because your rates will likely be lower than if you switch to an individual or family plan in 2014. Being part of a sizable group helps bring down insurance premiums because risk is shared. In October, you can check around to compare rates but you are fine for now.


If you are part of  a ‘Grandfathered Plan:’

You are sitting pretty! If you’ve been covered by the same health plan since March 23, 2010 or prior, you are very likely to be covered by a grandfathered plan. Check with your insurance agent who can tell you. If your coverage is ‘grandfathered,’ your rates may be spared most of the price hikes that are being announced for the new plans.


If you are in need of financial assistance or now on Medicaid:

If your gross family income is within 400% ($44,680 for a single person in 2012) of the Federal Poverty Level, you may well qualify for a tax credit in January. This will reduce your premium and allow you to receive medical services at lower fees. Details should be available starting October 1, 2013. Each state will be a little bit different because of the Constitution.


If you are part of Medicare:

Relax. You are not impacted by this change. The affordable care act is designed to extend coverage to everyone else. You may experience annual adjustments as has happened in the past. Actually the doughnut hole for prescription drug coverage is being phased out. Some of the scare tactics employed by opponents of the PPACA have been pretty shameless and inaccurate. Your Medicare is not going away. You will have an opportunity to switch coverage just as you do every year.


baby1Challenges do lie ahead for implementation. The PPACA is going to cover a lot more people very soon. Expect snafus and kerfluffles. They were present at the start of  Social Security and Medicare. If course corrections are needed, Washington should make them. Cost containment is the over-all challenge now. We have needed reform for a long time. Only one plan was put forward. Just dumping it at this late date is no longer an option. The folks in Washington all know that, whether they like it or not.





Tom Godfrey

About Tom Godfrey

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