The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is also known as Obamacare. It was earlier known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is a comprehensive healthcare reform provision under U.S. federal law. Congress passed Obamacare, and former President Barack Obama brought it into effect in 2010.
What Is The Affordable Care Act?
The key provisions of the Affordable Care Act came into force in 2014. It brought about a major expansion of the country’s healthcare system compared to Medicare and Medicaid. It drastically affected the number of US citizens opting for health insurance separately. Around 24 million were under the coverage of the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, the Act reformed healthcare quality at affordable costs. The average medical expenses, healthcare spending, and insurance costs dropped drastically after the introduction of this Act.
What Did The Affordable Care Act Do?
The Affordable Care Act caused the expansion of health insurance coverage. It increased the number of US citizens insured by Medicaid. It also took care of subsidies so that individuals could afford private insurance even at low incomes.
- The Affordable Care Act introduced the provision of individual mandate where the residents would either opt for health insurance or pay a penalty. This provision ensures greater participation in opting for health insurance policies.
- This Act prohibited the insurance providers from denying their services or charging more from the clients based on earlier conditions. It also made sure that there was no discrimination against individuals based on their health issues.
- The Act established a list of health benefits. All insurance plans fall under these services. The list included prescription drugs, mental health treatments, maternity care, and much more.
- The Affordable Care Act allowed the youth (till they turned 26) to benefit from their parent’s health insurance plans. This granted them more freedom to invest in their careers.
- The Act established a system of Health Insurance Exchanges. An individual could benefit from state-based health insurance exchanges. This would make access to private insurance plans easier.
- The Act allowed states to expand the scope of their Medicaid programs. It could include financially struggling groups. This increased health insurance access to vulnerable populations.
- Various measures controlling the cost and quality of healthcare were a part of this Act. Preventive care, keeping electronic health records, workforce training, and research on medical treatments- are all a part of this Act.
- This legislation law made sure that insurance plans met standards of prohibiting annual / lifetime limits, keeping the amount chargeable under covers.
- Small Business Health Options Program under the Act created a marketplace for businesses. It got them access to affordable health insurance options for their employees.
The Affordable Care Act included consumer protection policies. Insurance companies were required to set up an appeals process for coverage denials by them.
Is The Affordable Care Act Still In Effect?
Currently, the Affordable Care Act is active in the United States of America. However, the individual mandate that directed individuals to keep coverage or be penalized is no longer applicable since 2019. No citizen of the United States will face a penalty if they do not opt for insurance under this Act.
Since Donald Trump came to power in 2016, Obamacare has faced a lot of attempts to stop it from working. However, the Supreme Court of the United States will decide if the Affordable Care Act remains functioning in the future. With Mr. Joseph Biden as the new President, the Act functions without any hindrance.
What Is One Requirement Of The Affordable Care Act?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements may vary from state to state. However, these are the few requirements that stay the same throughout all states.
- The person concerned should be registered with U.S. Citizenship. They or Lawful Presence: To be eligible for ACA coverage, you must be a U.S. citizen or a lawfully present immigrant.
- Individuals with incomes in the 100% – 400% federal poverty level qualify for premium tax credits to reduce health insurance costs—the cost of health insurance premiums.
- The size of a household (number of dependents) affects the eligibility for Obamacare subsidies.
- Access to affordable health insurance by the employer excludes an individual from getting premium tax credits or other subsidies.
- The coverage for an individual also depends on whether the state they reside in has expanded the scope of Medicaid under the Act.
Wrapping It Up!
Now that we have gone through the details of the Act, let us quickly wrap up with some pros and cons of the Affordable Care Act. Some of the benefits of the Act include:
- Increased easy access to healthcare,
- Protection for previously existing conditions,
- Essential health care benefits,
- Medicaid expansion for the ones in need,
- Financial assistance for the financially challenged.
Some of the downsides of the Affordable Care Act include:
- Administrative standards on individuals, employers, and healthcare providers.
- Political controversies that followed,
- The individual mandate and its penalty,
- It limited service providers.
And that is a short and crisp insight into the much talked about Obamacare.
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