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Answers to Five Big Questions about “Obamacare”

Answers to Five Big Questions about “Obamacare”

Is this a government takeover of healthcare?

No, the government isn’t taking over the health insurance industry. Unlike in Britain where doctors working for the National Health Service are government employees, doctors in the US will remain privately- employed, either as individual practitioners, in a group practice, or as affiliated with a hospital or other institution. “Obamacare,” formally known as the Affordable Care Act, is not a single-payer system; instead it aims to ensure that everyone in the country is covered by some form of health insurance.

Is my Medicare coverage going to be reduced or taken away?

Benefits covered by Medicare will not be reduced or taken away by the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the Affordable Care Act makes Medicare stronger and extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. Medicare recipients will now get free annual “wellness” visits. In addition, for those in the “donut hole,” (meaning those who use up their prescription drug coverage but have not reached the level of expenses covered by the “catastrophic coverage” provisions of Medicare) there’s a new 50% discount on prescription drugs.

I’m an unemployed single father, how will I be able to afford health insurance?

Payment for the Affordable Care Act is dependent on your income. If your income is low enough, you won’t have to pay anything. For example, if you’re the head of a family of four making less than $29,000 a year, you will be covered by Medicaid. If you make more money, the amount you pay is tied to the amount you earn. The most you’ll have to pay is 9.5% of your income. For more information, visit the Affordable Care Website (http://www.healthcare.gov/law) or talk to a health care provider.

What about those “Cadillac” insurance plans I heard so much about?

The Affordable Care Act intends to curb employers who force employees to buy expensive, excessive insurance policies. Starting in 2018, employers will pay a 35% tax if they provide employees with a health plan that exceeds $10,200 for an individual. This is because there is currently no maximum on tax deductions for employer-provided health insurance.

I have diabetes and have been denied insurance coverage for years, when will I be able to get health coverage?

Diabetes is considered a “pre-existing condition” and, until the Affordable Care Act was passed, insurers were allowed to deny you coverage. This practice will end in 2014. Just because you have diabetes, or cancer, or are a woman (yes, being a woman was considered a pre-existing condition), you can’t be denied coverage.

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