The primary focus of health care reform is to ensure that Americans of all ages and incomes have access to comprehensive major medical health insurance. The ACA provides stronger consumer protections and new coverage options. Here are a few key points to know about health care reform:
· If you have been uninsured for at least six months and have a serious health condition, you may be able to get health insurance through the federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. Learn more at www.pcip.gov.
· Starting in 2014, additional options may be available as job-based and new individual major medical plans won’t be able to exclude you from coverage or charge you a higher premium for a pre-existing condition, including a disability.
· Parents have new options to cover their children and young adults. If you have children under age 26, you can insure them if your policy allows for dependent coverage, even if they have another offer of coverage through an employer. Both married and unmarried children qualify for this coverage. The only exception is that prior to 2014, certain existing job-based plans (known as grandfathered plans) may exclude children who can get their own job-based coverage.
· Job-based health plans and new individual plans are no longer allowed to deny or exclude coverage to any child under age 19 based on pre-existing health conditions, including babies born with health problems.
· Starting in 2014, if your income is 400 percent of the federal poverty level (approximately $43,000 for an individual and $88,000 for a family of four) and your job doesn’t offer affordable coverage, you may receive a tax credit to help pay for insurance through the health care exchange.
· Starting in 2014, you will be able to buy insurance directly in a health care exchange that gives you options similar to what large businesses have to get better choices and lower prices.1