Navigating the Affordable Care Act

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act doesn’t go into effect on January 1st of next year, but there has already been a lot of misinformation floating. So, the Peter White Public Library decided to host a panel Monday night, to help people field a better understanding.

A panel of accountants, lawyers, and insurance agents went through the fundamentals of the revolutionary initiative before opening the floor to questions from the public. One of the most common misconceptions took center stage.

“Obamacare is going to be unaffordable for everyone. That’s not true at all,” noted Leslie Gardiner, who moderated the Healthcare Reform Panel as a fellow insurance agent. “It will help a number of people across a wide demographic. If you qualify, based on your income and family size, you can receive substantial credits and subsidies. A family of four can make up to $94,000 and still qualify for tax credits.”

Anyone who is a U.S. citizen and not currently on their employer’s health care plan or in jail qualifies for coverage. And even if you don’t want to enroll in Obamacare, there are 10 essential benefits that will apply to the majority of existing plans at the start of next year.

“One of them is some pressure on the insurance companies themselves to bring down costs. The medical loss ratios are actually what caps the income that insurance companies can make from you on your premium. There’s laws that put higher taxes on pharmaceutical companies, and there’s a variety of different methods,” Gardiner added.

The open enrollment period to purchase individual plans runs from October 1st through March 31st of 2014, but for a January 1 effective date, you need to apply by December 15th.