I can’t afford insurance, will I now be insured under Obama’s new health care bill?

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Asked August 7, 2012

1 Answer

The whole purpose of the Affordable Care Act is to provide health insurance options to people who would otherwise not be able to afford coverage. The law is a multi-step process which will go into effect between 2010 and 2020, with each step creating more healthcare options, and reducing insurance company exclusions. You will not be insured automatically if you cannot afford insurance, but there will be assistance available to help individuals choose the coverage that is best for them.

One of the ways that healthcare will be more affordable is through the creation of insurance exchanges, centralized insurance shopping networks which are managed at both the state and federal levels. These exchanges are meant to increase competition among insurance companies and provide consumers with information that can be used to find affordable care.

Under the new law, if you make 133% of the national poverty level, you will be eligible for Medicaid, a federal program which is maintained at the state level to provide care for those who do not have the income necessary to purchase insurance. The law is designed to make regular health insurance available to a greater number of people, reducing the reliance on Medicaid while improving the overall health benefits of all Americans. Additionally, many of the traditional restrictions of Medicaid, (for example, single parents are excluded from coverage), will be eliminated, widening the eligibility gap.

If an individual or family earns between 133% and 400% of the poverty level, they will be eligible for vouchers or other subsidies to supplement the cost of purchasing insurance. These subsidies will be based on income. By design the law cannot require anyone to contribute more than 9.5% of their salary to health insurance. For example, if a person earns $15,000 a year, they will not be expected to spend more than $1,350 on health coverage. The lower your income, which does not include Social Security Income, the more subsidies you will qualify for.

Unless you have an extremely low income, you will still have to pay a portion of the costs of health insurance. The more you make, the lower your eligibility for assistance will be. The law is not intended to provide free health insurance, only to make having insurance something that more Americans will be able to afford.

Answered August 7, 2012 by Anonymous

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