There's a lot in the news lately about health care reform, but it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff in terms of real information about what Obamacare will mean for the consumer. The bottom line for folks who will be participating in the health insurance marketplaces is: how much is this going to cost me, and what do I get for what I pay?
Last year, Obamacare, formally called the Affordable Care Act, helped 10 million Americans sign up for health insurance. Being insured is now a requirement, so it's important to be sure your coverage is all set for 2015. If your employer provides your insurance, nothing has changed and no action is required on your part. Just keep doing what you have been doing. But, if your employer doesn't offer health insurance, (or if you're a freelancer, or currently between jobs,) enrollment is a great option to get the coverage you need.
Imagine going into a local health care center with a simple cold and walking out with a bill totaling $500 or more? For millions of Americans without adequate insurance, this is a reality. The stagnant economy has forced many companies into only hiring part timers, which reduces the costs of benefits and overtime. This has created an entire working population of underemployed with no access to affordable health insurance.
A big part of the president's healthcare reform plan is to extend coverage to those who need it most – the old, the poor and the young. To make it affordable, the program relies on young, presumably healthy, adults to opt in. If they don't, they pay a fine. But what if they opt to get penalized instead of sign on up? What would that do to the Affordable Care Act?