The Affordable Care Act – also known as “Obamacare” – has become one of President Barack Obama’s most defining moments The health care act, which was signed into law in March of 2010, was Obama’s attempt at making healthcare more affordable for many Americans.
In order to fully understand Obamacare it is important to identify different components of the law. The primary foundation of the law concerns expanding access to and the affordability of health insurance. The act rests upon the assumption that millions of Americans are unable to receive adequate health insurance.
One way that Obamacare expands coverage is by offering official health insurance through the federal government. For the approximate 15% of Americans who are uninsured and who may have been previously unable to receive insurance, this aspect of Obamacare is essential. During open enrollment Americans can visit Application for Obamacare and browse different health insurance plans. The website allows users to receive price quotes based on a variety of factors including income and household size.
Obamacare Tax Penalties
An aspect of the law that has caused confusion is an individual mandate that stipulates that Americans who fail to purchase health insurance must pay a penalty in the form of a tax. According to healthcare.gov, the penalty for remaining uninsured will be calculated in two different ways in 2014. The greater of the following will be issued as the penalty by the IRS:
- 1% of your yearly household income
- $95 per adult for the year and $47.50 per child for the year
When is Open Enrollment for Obamacare?
It is important to note that Americans can only enroll in Obamacare during open enrollment in the health insurance marketplace. For 2014 the open enrollment term has already ended. For 2015, in order to avoid penalization, uninsured Americans must enroll between November 15, 2014 and February 15, 2015.
Fortunately, there are a few exceptions to the open enrollment rule for those experiencing crisis or emergency situations. For example, there are “qualifying life events” that allow uninsured citizens to enroll in health insurance under Obamacare outside of the dates above. These life events can include moving to a new state, changes in income such as losing a job, and changes within the family.
In addition to life event exemptions, the Affordable Care Act allows certain hardship exemptions for those who are in dire need of health insurance. Qualifying hardships include homelessness, bankruptcy, victims of domestic violence, and the cancelling of your previous individual insurance plan. Furthermore, if your state did not expand eligibility for Medicaid as the federal law mandated, you are eligible for insurance outside of the enrollment marketplace.
Obamacare’s mission is to provide affordable health insurance to an uninsured population. While the law has experienced its fair share of conflicts, mandates and exemptions within the law stay true to the mission: expanding access to and affordability of health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans.