We have entered a critical year for healthcare reform, as this is the year in which many of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), or “Obamacare,” go into effect. Many of us are still holding our breath to see how the complex process of implementing this vast array of changes to the healthcare system will play out, and what the healthcare experiences of individuals and employers will be under the new system.
How the ACA Affects Individuals -
For individual consumers of healthcare, many important changes took effect on January 1, 2014. As most readers are aware, January 1 was the first day for new coverage purchased under each state’s healthcare exchange. The exchanges are intended to allow individuals to shop for policies, compare plan coverages side-by-side, and see if premium tax credits are available. Under the ACA’s “individual mandate,” individuals who do not have coverage through an exchange, or through another source such as an employer-provided plan, Medicare or Medicaid, by March 31, 2014, will be required to pay a penalty for 2014 equal to the greater of $95 or 1 percent of household income. These penalties will steadily increase to the greater of $695 or 2.5 percent of household income by 2016. On the positive side for individuals in 2014, coverage has improved because of the following restrictions that apply to most plans...
Originally published in Oregon Business on March 3, 2014.
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