Having health insurance is more important than ever, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, health insurance may seem out of reach thanks to pre-existing conditions, high premiums and more—but Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Care Act) was designed to eliminate those barriers and provide affordable health insurance in Tampa, FL and across the country.
What is the Affordable Care Act?
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, with the goal of making health insurance affordable for everyone. Some people were unable to buy health insurance thanks to high premiums (particularly if they did not have health insurance linked to employment), while others struggled to find coverage of any kind thanks to pre-existing conditions.
The legislation did three major things: made premiums more affordable through tax subsidies, provided opportunities to shop around for health plans and protected consumers through improved benefits and by preventing discrimination.
What benefits should I see thanks to the ACA?
The ACA, which spans over a thousand pages, does quite a bit for the average American healthcare consumer—far too much to list each benefit individually. Here are the highlights of what you can expect from ACA-compliant, affordable health insurance in Tampa, FL:
- Affordable premiums: Obamacare offers premium subsidies to certain people, based on their income level, whether their employer offers an ACA-approved plan and other factors. It also has improved access to Medicare and instituted an 80/20 rule: 80 percent of healthcare premiums must actually go toward providing health care to customers, rather than toward administrative costs. It also requires rate review, implements improvements to COBRA and provides caps on out-of-pocket costs.
- Improved plan shopping: You’re now able to better compare health insurance plans in a “marketplace,” which varies by individual state.
- Better benefits: There are “essential health benefits” (EHBs) that each ACA-approved plan must provide, including hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, lab tests, prescription drugs (including name-brand drugs), mental health and addiction care, pediatric care, chronic disease management and more.
- Free services: In addition to the EHBs, Obamacare plans also need to provide basic services at no additional cost, including birth control, vaccinations, colonoscopies, pap smears, STI screenings and other important preventative care. (After all, the goal is to keep Americans healthy—and it’s much harder to do so when you have to pay for these services out of pocket.)
- Eliminating discrimination: Health insurers have been known to discriminate against certain groups, including the LGBTQ+ community—the ACA makes it illegal to do so.
To enroll in Obamacare yourself, talk to your insurance agent or visit your state’s ACA healthcare website. Most states require you to wait for the open enrollment period, although many are making exceptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also limited circumstances in which you can enroll, such as after the death of a spouse, divorce, change of employment and more.
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