Obamacare 101: What You Need to Know

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” as it’s more commonly known, brings real security for working families and small business when it comes to health care by making sure we all have affordable, quality choices and that insurance companies treat us fairly. 

The law stops insurance companies from denying us care or arbitrarily jacking up our rates; and it gives all of us the peace of mind that comes with knowing we’ll have coverage that’s there when we need it, at a price we can afford.

The law works to patch up some of the biggest cracks in our private insurance system and will protect millions of hardworking American families. 

If you are uninsured, under-insured or a senior having trouble affording care, we’re here to help.

Contact us at info@pahealthaccess.org to find out what options are available in your area.

What’s Obamacare All About? It’s Simple!

Our health care system is big and complex. While most Americans are able to get health insurance through their employer, a growing number were finding themselves shut out, priced out, or outright denied coverage when they tried to buy insurance on their own. Still more were finding that when they tried to use their insurance, they faced an uphill battle - facing arbitrary annual and lifetime limits restricting their coverage, or having to struggle to get their insurer to cover what their doctor prescribed. And for decades, Americans with insurance were paying more and more for less and less coverage. 

These are the kinds of problems Obamacare sought to address. Like any major law, it can seem confusing (so keep this guide with you!), but it’s actually really about 3 things:

So How Will It All Work and What Does It All Mean for ME?

While many important provisions have already taken effect, the Affordable Care Act will be fully in place come January 1, 2014 and bring with it new choices, real protections and a stronger, more transparent health insurance marketplace.

Insurers Cannot Deny You Coverage or Charge You More Based on Your Health Status or Gender:

The days when an insurance company can deny you coverage because you have a health condition, or charge you higher rates because you happen to be female, are over. Insurers must offer coverage to everyone who seeks it, and cannot charge you more if you’ve been sick in the past.

You Can Rest Assured That Quality Coverage Will Be There When You Need It:

If you’re facing a layoff, struggling to find full-time work with benefits or thinking about starting your own business, you no longer have to face the threat of being uninsured. Beginning Jan. 1st, 2014 you can purchase coverage through a new, competitive state-based insurance marketplace, choosing from the same high-quality plans as your Member of Congress.

Insurance companies will compete for your business based on plan quality and value. Insurers will have to provide you with a standardized, easy to understand description of what their plans cover and how much you can expect to pay for covered services so that you can make apples-to-apples comparisons and choose a plan that’s right for you and family -- or your small business.

You Are Protected Financially and Have the Right to Comprehensive Coverage You Can Afford:

Gone are the days of being pushed to the brink of financial ruin over health care costs. Gone are the days of languishing uninsured if you’re a low-income worker, or laid off.

Now, if you earn between 100 and 400% of the federal poverty level in 2014 and purchase coverage in the new marketplace, you will get substantial tax credits to lower your monthly premiums (before you pay them!) and will be protected financially with caps limiting how much you have to pay in out-of-pocket for health care each year. 

If your employer offers you a plan that would cost more than 9.5% of your household income, or if it covers less than 60% of the cost of covered benefits, you can reject that plan, choose a plan in the new marketplace, and receive the same tax credits as everyone else. 

Learn more about how the law is already working for Pennsylvania families