A recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation (April 2013) reports four out of 10 Americans don’t know Obamacare is now law. Even fewer Americans and visitors to America know how Obamacare – otherwise known as The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – will affect visitors insurance and health insurance coverage for immigrants and temporary residents. Millions of Americans and visitors to the US still have questions about Obamacare and its potential effects on healthcare affordability and eligibility. What exactly is Obamacare? What is the impact of Obamacare on US citizens, immigrants, and visitors to the US?
What is Obamacare?
Hear the word Obamacare and what do you think? Free healthcare for everyone? Fines and penalties for non-compliance? A more complicated health system, or a streamlined alternative care solution? Healthcare Reform or the Affordable Care Act is popularly known as Obamacare because President Obama is the man responsible for signing the Act into law. While the name may be catchy, the legislation contained in the Act (which is over 11,000 pages long, or three feet high) is anything but simple. But don’t worry, you don’t have to wade through the paperwork to understand the act and its implications – a few of the details are more important than others for consumers.
Key Facts about the Obamacare Bill
Obamacare is a US plan aimed at reforming the healthcare industry in the United States. The main focus of Obamacare is to give more Americans access to affordable healthcare, regulate the healthcare industry to benefit consumers, reduce healthcare spending, and improve healthcare quality. Obamacare was signed into law on March 23, 2010 and will apply to US citizens from the beginning of 2014. Obamacare brings with it several key features including the development of a Health Insurance Marketplace where Americans can buy subsidized health insurance.
- Most citizens and legal residents of the United States must have health insurance coverage by January 1st 2014.
- Citizens without health insurance must pay a fee with their year-end taxes.
- You cannot be denied health insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
- Health insurance plans must contain clear summaries of coverage and benefits.
- Health insurers can no longer charge higher rates depending on gender.
- Medicaid and Medicare are expanded to allow uncovered Americans to access health insurance.
- Many US citizens will be eligible to buy subsidized health insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace.