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Fact Checked

The Changing Face of Medical Care: How the Affordable Care Act Affects You.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is going to change the way we perceive healthcare. Many Americans are confused about how it will work, and findings from a new Stanford University survey demonstrate that while Americans have a vague understanding of the health reform law’s specifics, most remain uncertain about what ACA’s specific provisions actually do.

As the open enrollment period draws near, you may be wondering how it affects you or what you need to do. Or you may simply want to understand more about the law that’s dominating the news. In this blog entry I will demystify the important aspects of the law in an attempt to shed some light on how it affects you and your family.

What if I already have health insurance? ACA mostly affects Americans who don’t already have health insurance. If you already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, or Medicaid, nothing about that will change. If you're self employed and you buy your insurance on the individual market, you might want to compare your current plan to the new plans being offered on ACA’s marketplaces.   

If I’m keeping my current health insurance, does ACA benefit me? Yes. The new health law has some benefits for you regardless of whether you're enrolling in one of the ACA plans or not. Two major things fall into this category: Preventative care will now be available to you at no out-of-pocket costs. That means no copay on several tests as well as birth control for women. Pre-existing condition: Insurance companies will not be able to deny you insurance, regardless of your medical history. It also eliminates lifetime caps on healthcare spending, enabling you to get all the essential care you need if you get sick.

Are dental or insurance plans affected by the new law? No, there is no dental coverage under the ACA, unless you qualify for medicaid. Vision is currently being pushed for in the new health exchanges, but is not currently part of the plan.

What are the “exchanges” and should I join them? The marketplace exchange is where multiple insurers will compete to provide health plans. Each state will have its own insurance exchange, and all the plans offered within them will be required to have a set of “essential benefits.” Their aim is to provide coverage to people who  cannot get it elsewhere.

What is the significance of October 1st? This is the date that the state-level exchanges will officially open for business. On that date Americans will be able to purchase one of the plans offered. If you choose to sign up for one of the plans, you have until March to do so.

If I don’t want to get insurance, am I going to have to pay? Yes, because taxpayers will be fronting the cost of your care if you end up in the hospital. In 2014, the penalty will be $95 or 1% of your family income, and for a child the cost is $47.50

Who will wind up benefiting most from the new law? People who can’t afford insurance at the moment will end up getting more options for coverage. People with pre-existing conditions, and women who were being charged more than men for the same care. Recent college graduates will also be able to stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26.

All in all the ACA does not affect your USA Rx card, it is still free to use and is accepted at over 60,000 pharmacies nationwide. Download your free card at usarx.com/get-free-card today and start using it to save up to 75% on your medications.

Published October 3rd, 2013 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by Chris Riley

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