November 6th has come and past, and while some are unhappy with the outcome, most can agree they are happy the election is over. The constant political commercials dragging their opponents through the mud and biased news “reporters” misleading the public was enough to drive anyone crazy. Add to the fact that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become the place where uninformed users feel they should display their political opinions, you are left with an unending amount of conflicting information about the changes to health care. One of the most frequently asked questions being “Can I keep my health insurance under Obama’s plan?”
When the bill first passed, Americans heard President Obama say that if you have insurance and you like your health plan, you can keep it. But as health plan choices changed from one open enrollment period to the next, people started to become concerned. Nearly 149 million Americans get health insurance through their jobs. The health reform law sought to keep this country’s predominantly employer-based insurance system intact.
Contrary to popular belief - employers aren’t required to provide health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. However, starting in 2014 companies with more than 50 workers that don’t offer coverage may be required to pay a penalty.
What is changing?
The law provides some additional benefits to your job-based coverage that you might not have had before it passed, for example:
- Young adults can stay on their parents’ health plan up to age 26 if they are not offered insurance at work .
- Lifetime caps on care and annual limits are being phased out.
- All new health plans must now also offer preventive care services, such as cancer screenings, wellness visits and vaccinations with no co-pays or co-insurance.
So why is everyone so upset?
Many people are happy with their present coverage and there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to keep the exact health plan you currently have. Under the Affordable Care Act, your employer has no obligation to keep the same benefits in place. And, in fact, many companies are making fairly significant changes to the plans they offer, none of which have anything to do with health reform. Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants nationwide are cutting back their full-time employees to part-time to avoid having to pay the premiums. The biggest changes you’re likely to see with regard to your job-based health insurance include a switch to high deductible health plans – nearly 60% of employers offered this type of plan this year – and in general, rising costs.
For more information on how the Affordable Care Act will effect individuals, seniors, small business owners and young people, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/relief-for-americans-and-businesses