Learn about the Affordable Care Act and find out how to apply through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Check your options here.
Health insurance can be costly — especially if you do not have a job that offers health insurance as a benefit.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a 2010 health-reform law better known as the Affordable Care Act, ACA, and, often, Obamacare.
The comprehensive Affordable Care Act law has three main goals:
1) Make affordable health insurance available to more people.
2) Expand the Medicaid program.
3) Support medical care delivery that reduces costs.
Obamacare offers many consumer protections. The law protects you by offering coverage for people who have pre-existing conditions. The law also requires health plans to offer preventive care without out-of-pocket costs, and allow adults under the age of 26 to stay on a parent’s health insurance plan.
Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) is designed to make healthcare affordable for people regardless of income. Individuals at all income levels can sign up for health insurance under Obamacare.
You qualify for Obamacare if you:
Are a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or are lawfully present in the U.S;
Are not incarcerated;
Are not covered by Medicare.
Further, if you have a household income between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL), you may qualify for a premium tax credit or special subsidies that will reduce health insurance costs.
Using 2021 federal poverty levels, a family of four would qualify for subsidies with an income from $26,500 and $106,000. A single person would qualify for subsidies if they made between $12,880 and $51,520. (Federal poverty level amounts are higher in Alaska and Hawaii.)
Most people who live in the U.S. are eligible for healthcare coverage under Obamacare. However, there are exceptions.
You are not eligible for Obamacare if:
You do not live in the U.S.
You are incarcerated.
You are not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawfully present in the U.S.
You are covered by Medicare.
If you are not a U.S. citizen or national but lawfully present in the U.S., you also may qualify for Obamacare if your immigration status is one of the following:
Lawful permanent resident or green card holder
Cuban or Haitian entrant
Immigrant paroled into the U.S.
Immigrants granted conditional entrance before 1980
Battered spouse, child, and parent
Victim of trafficking, along with a spouse, child, sibling, or parent
Those granted withholding of deportation or withholding of removal, under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment, or Punishment (CAT), or immigration laws
Non-immigrant status, including those with worker visas and student visas
Temporary protected status (TPS)
Deferred enforced departure (DED)
Deferred action status, excluding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Lawful temporary resident
Those with an administrative order issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that stays their removal
Member of a federally recognized Indian tribe, or an American Indian born in Canada
Resident of American Samoa
The Affordable Care Act will reach record affordability during the 2022 coverage year because of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. New financial assistance with premiums means that 4 out of 5 people will be able to find a plan for $10 or less per month.
Your premium, or the amount you might pay monthly for Obamacare, will vary depending upon where you live, your income, your household size, what plan you choose, and the amount of your premium tax credit.
Generally, ACA plans are organized into “metal tiers,” which determine how you and your plan split the cost of care.
The metal tier categories are:
If you cannot afford Obamacare, see if you can qualify for the state-based insurance program called Medicaid. Your Obamacare application can help you determine if you qualify for Medicaid.
Every state, the District of Columbia, and all five U.S. territories with permanent populations (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) have Medicaid programs. You may qualify for Medicaid depending on your household income, family size, and other factors.
Under Obamacare, some states have expanded Medicaid to include a group of people with slightly higher incomes.
If you do not qualify for Medicaid and cannot afford any ACA health plan, you have other free and low-cost options, including free clinics and community health centers.
As long as you are eligible for Obamacare, you can’t be denied. That means that as long as you are living in the U.S. lawfully and are not incarcerated or covered by Medicare, you can enroll in an ACA insurance plan. Depending on your income and other factors, your plan may not qualify for subsidies.
Your application can be denied if you try to sign up outside of the annual open enrollment period. For 2022 coverage, the open enrollment deadline is January 15, 2022, for most people. If you want your coverage to begin on January 1, 2022, the deadline to enroll is December 15, 2021, in most states.
If you miss the open enrollment deadline, you may qualify for a special enrollment period if you have a qualifying life event such as:
Losing health coverage;
Moving to a new state;
Having a baby/ Adopting a child; and
If you have an Obamacare plan and you get a new job that offers health insurance, you will no longer be eligible for ACA subsidies. In that case, you may want to cancel your Obamacare plan and switch to your employer’s plan.
If you have a new job that does not offer health insurance and your earnings exceed the income estimate on your Obamacare application, you may no longer qualify for the same amount in subsidies. In that circumstance, you should update your application by reporting all income and household changes to Healthcare.gov to determine whether your subsidies or other savings will change. If you end up making less than your income estimate, you should also update your application, because you may qualify for more savings under Obamacare.
If you have an employer-based health plan and lose your job, you qualify for a special enrollment period and can apply for Obamacare health insurance outside of open enrollment. You also can sign up to keep your job-based insurance through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), but you may have to pay the entire premium — including the portion that was being paid by your employer.
Simple Choice Insurance Brokerage will help you apply through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you have questions about Obamacare(Affordable Care Act) or Individual Health, call us at 832-626-7791.
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