On Thursday, the Supreme Court decided most of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” is constitutional and can remain law.
Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news.
For one, 20-somethings make up the largest portion of uninsured in the country (1 in 3 of us is uninsured). Many pick up part-time jobs when full-time employment isn’t available and in doing so don’t get the health-care packages associated with a 40-hour work week.
Many also expect to be healthy in the foreseeable future and opt out of paying for health insurance to stretch their budgets elsewhere.
The law allows most people as old as 26 to stay on their parents’ health plans. That means more than 2.5 million young people will be insured even though their employers don’t offer the benefits, according to the White House.
Starting in 2014, young adults older than 26 will be made to purchase health insurance or risk being penalized by the government.
What other provisions are included in the law, according to the White House?
- Tax credits: If you are a young adult and make as much as $43,000 per year, you will be able to receive tax credits to ensure you can afford healthcare. If care is too expensive event with the credit, you could qualify for a hardship waiver.
- Justification for premium increases: Health insurance companies must be able to justify premium increases. Those with unjustified increases will be penalized.
- Crackdown on excessive overhead: How much insurance companies can spend on non-health-related costs will be looked at more closely. This includes things like executive salaries and marketing. If non-medical costs are too high, customers will get a rebate.
- No lifetime limits: Insurance companies can’t drop or limit your coverage if you get sick. Annual limits in new plans also will be restricted and in 2014, annual limits in new and existing plans won’t be allowed. Insurance companies also won’t be able to deny coverage if you have a preexisting health condition or increase your premium because of age.
- Limits on co-pays and deductibles: There will be a cap on how much you have to pay out of pocket for doctor’s visits and procedures. The law also bans “gender rating” which allows women to be charged more for the same coverage.
- Preventative care: New plans must cover preventative care and wellness benefits at no charge. Innovations in healthcare that prevent illnesses before they require expensive treatments also will receive more funding.
- Competition for your dollars: State-based health exchanges will be created to give 20-somethings more choices when choosing health plans. A low-cost “young invincible” plan also will be available if you are younger than than 30.
- One-stop plan shopping: Easy-to-follow plan information will be available so those shopping for insurance can better compare benefits, costs and plan performance.
- Health care security: If you lose or change jobs or your hours get cut, you still will be able to access affordable insurance.
What do you think of the Supreme Court’s decision?
To learn more about provisions of the law, visit WhiteHouse.gov/HealthReform.
For more about what insurance options are available to you, visit HealthCare.gov.