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Affordable Care Act Changes 2014

By on February 23, 2013 in Health Insurance, Insurance

Affordable Care Act Changes 2014Buying your own health insurance policy can be drastically different in 2014 than it is today thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The ACA is one of the nation’s largest healthcare laws; the changes it causes have been staggered out over many years to allow the industry to adjust to each year’s changes. Keeping your health insurance quote up to date can help you save on costs each year depending on how each insurer adapts to the new law.

Affordable Care Act Changes for 2014

One of the biggest years of change in regards to the Affordable Care Act is 2014. Here are the changes that will kick in:

The Health Insurance Marketplace Debuts

One of the biggest goals of the ACA is to provide affordable care to the millions of currently uninsured and underinsured Americans. A big step forward toward that goal is the creation of a health insurance marketplace. These marketplaces can be state run, a state-federal partnership, or run by the federal government.

These exchanges don’t directly provide health insurance; instead they bring together insurance companies and those needing insurance. The idea is to bring enough customers to the table for it to be profitable for the health insurance companies to begin providing coverage to this group of individuals. The more people covered, the more you can spread the cost of coverage out over the population. An interesting fact of the marketplace: Congress will be buying their health insurance there as well.

Ending Pre-Existing Condition Discrimination

For decades it has been impossible or prohibitively expensive to get health insurance if you have a pre-existing condition. And insurance companies have become experts at deeming many things as pre-existing. Starting on January 1, 2014 the law will prevent health insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums to individuals and families with pre-existing conditions.

Ending Annual Insurance Limits

Some health plans have a lifetime cap of $1 million or $2 million. Other plans have an annual limit that might be $100,000 per year. Beginning in 2014 these plans can no longer place an annual limit on coverage for what is deemed essential healthcare items.

The “essential healthcare items” list is important because if only a few things are considered essential then you might not be getting much help. These items are considered essential:

  • hospitalization
  • ambulatory patient services
  • emergency services
  • maternity and newborn care
  • preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • prescription drugs
  • mental health and substance use disorder services
  • rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • laboratory services
  • and pediatric services, including oral and vision care

Tax Credits to Make Care More Affordable

There are two types of tax credits that kick in during 2014. The first is for individuals and families that make up to $43,000 (individuals) or $88,000 (families). The tax credit can be applied monthly rather than having to wait until you file your taxes a year later. The credit is designed to help lower income individuals pay for health coverage by reducing their taxes.

The second tax cut is designed to encourage businesses to provide health insurance to their employees. The credit is equivalent to 50% of what the business contributes to provide health insurance for employees. (Non-profit organizations get a different cut of 35%.

Other Changes

There are a few other changes not outlined above:

  • a health insurance company cannot drop you or deny you coverage for participating in a crinical trial
  • the government is increasing the income limit that allows you to apply for Medicaid coverage
  • you will be required to buy health insurance or risk paying a fee if affordable coverage is available for you

Get an Updated Health Insurance Quote

With all of the healthcare and health insurance changes coming in 2014, insurers are definitely going to react. It might make sense to lock in a lower health insurance premium rate today. Get a quote to make sure you don’t end up paying more money in the future for your health insurance.

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