The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which took effect on January 1, 2014, requires everyone legally living in the U.S. to have health insurance. It also gives millions of individuals with too little or no insurance, access to health plans at different cost levels. The law also provides financial assistance to those who qualify based on family size and income. Beginning November 15, 2014, you will be able to shop for plans online.
What Will the Plans Cover?
Coverage will include doctor visits, hospital stays, wellness care, prescriptions, emergency services, maternal and newborn care, pediatric care, and more. In fact, Ten Essential Health Benefits must be covered in every plan and certain Preventive Care services will be provided at no additional cost to patients. Also, people cannot be turned away due to pre-existing conditions, as has been the case in the past.
Sign Up Begins November 15, 2014
If you do not have health insurance, you are required to sign up during open enrollment, from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015. You can shop for plans by phone, through a broker, at on-site enrollment locations, or at the online Health Insurance Marketplace, where you can easily compare benefits and costs. If you choose not to enroll for insurance, the law states that you will face tax penalties.
All 2014 Marketplace health plans will come up for renewal in 2015. If you purchased coverage in 2014, your insurance company will send you information about updated premiums and benefits. If you are satisfied with your current plan and want to keep it – and your income and household size have not changed – you don’t need to do anything. The Marketplace will automatically re-enroll you in that same coverage for 2015.