On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed comprehensive health reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, into law. The following summary of the law, and changes made to the law by subsequent legislation, focuses on provisions to expand coverage, control health care costs, and improve health care delivery system.
12 Main Provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
- Ensure that all Americans have access to quality affordable health care
- Create a new regulated marketplace where consumers can purchase affordable health care
- Extend much needed relief to small businesses
- Improve Medicare by helping seniors and people with disabilities afford their prescription drugs
- Prohibit denials of coverage based on preexisting conditions
- Limit out of pocket costs so that Americans have security and peace of mind
- Help young adults by requiring insurers to allow all dependents to remain on their parents plan until age 26
- Expand Medicaid to millions of low income Americans
- Provide sliding scale subsidies to make insurance premiums affordable
- Hold insurance companies accountable for how our healthcare dollars are spent
- Clamp down on insurance company abuses
- Invest in preventive care
Updates to the Affordable Care Act
Changes made to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are listed below. If more changes in the law are made, they will be listed here.
Health Insurance Industry Extends Deadline
On 12/18/2013, the health insurance industry voluntarily extended the deadline to Jan 10,2014 for consumers to pay for coverage that starts on January 1, 2014. Consumers must still must sign-up or enroll in a plan by December 23, 2013. However, they have until January 10, 2014 to get their first month's premium or monthly payment to their insurer for insurance that will be effective on January 1, 2014. A provision in the Affordable Care Act states that the first month's premium must be paid for the insurance to be in effect.
SHOP-Small Business Health Options Program
Online enrollment delayed until November 2014. Small business owners still have the option to buy SHOP health insurance through a broker or agent who will help employers using the paper SHOP application.
Enrollment Date Extended for January 1 Coverage (Dec. 15 to Dec. 23)
Consumers now have until December 23 to enroll in a health insurance plan on healthcare.gov for coverage that will start on January 1, 2014. The original enrollment date was December 15.
2015 Open Enrollment Date Changes
The open enrollment for the 2015 coverage year was to start on October 15, 2014. On November 21, the opening date was changed to November 15, 2014.
Penalty Fee Removed Until After March 31, 2014
Anyone who purchases health insurance on the Marketplace through March 31, 2014 will not be subject to the tax penalty. Because of the delay between the application period and the date insurance takes effect, some consumers who applied for insurance by the enrollment deadline date, March 31, 2014 could have been subjected the penalty fee because they had were uninsured for more than three months.
Delay in Large Employer Provided Insurance
Large employers, those with more than 50 full time employees, will not face a penalty for not providing health insurance to their employees until 2015.