Affordable Care Act Summary
In March, 2010, the Obama Administration passed legislation aimed at changing the nation's health care system, but with all the facts and figures being bandied about, what exactly does the Affordable Care Act do to the health care system?
Health Reform and Medicaid Coverage
Many of the sweeping changes to health care will impact Medicaid, the Federally-funded, need-based program run by state governments. The Affordable Care Act, also called Health Care Reform, will insure an additional 16 million low-income people by expanding Medicaid.
Health Reform and Individual Insurance
The Affordable Care Act extends insurance coverage to an estimated 32 million Americans, but may raise costs and rein in services to others as a result. Individuals who make up to four times the federal poverty level would be eligible to receive credits to assist them in purchasing health care insurance. For the poorest families and individuals, the credit may pay their entire health care premium.
Health Reform and Business Costs
Businesses with more than 50 full time employees will be forced to offer health care benefits or they may be fined up to $750 per person. Businesses with less than 50 employees are exempted from providing insurance coverage.
Seniors, Medicare, and Health Reform
The Affordable Care Act aims to extend the solvency of Medicare by establishing a board that would research and propose solutions to reduce the costs of this federal program. The Board's purpose is to focus on reducing waste and fraud while increasing the efficiency of Medicare.
According to an analysis from the Government Accountability Office, both Social Security and Medicare face imminent deficits absent any far-reaching reform.
Long Term Care and Health Reform
Health Reform provides a new long-term care option, the CLASS Program, which aims to reduce the dependence on Medicaid by senior citizens for long-term care. It does this by providing insurance plans for working individuals. These policies would provide an estimated $75 daily benefit to enrollees who require assistance with everyday activities, such as meal preparation and bathing. The policies are only offered to those working either full or part time, and a participant must pay premiums for five years before being fully 'vested' in the program to be able to receive full benefits.
* You may be able to get extra help to pay for your prescription drug premiums and costs. To see if you qualify for getting extra help, call:
1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY/TDD users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/7 days a week;
The Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY/TDD users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or Your State Medicaid Office