It’s time to get the actual truth about the Affordable Care Act, affectionately (in our house, at least) called “Obamacare.” In spite of what certain politicians are pushing in TV ads, it will not be the end of the world for health care! For example, it requires insurance companies to include 14 free preventive benefits — screenings, immunizations and counseling for adults. It also requires an additional 22 preventive benefits for women and another 21 preventive services for infants, children and teens.
California is leading the country in implementing the program, from setting up a new agency to help people find insurance to suit their needs (888-975-1142) with its own website (www.coveredca.com), to expanding Medicaid (Medi-Cal here in California). In January, when ACA takes effect, income-level eligibility for Medi-Cal will rise to $15,900 for singles and $32,500 for a family of four. Individuals earning up to about $44,680 and a family of four making up to $92,200 are eligible for tax credits to help with insurance premiums.
President Clinton called the current system “unaffordable and downright unhealthy for millions of Americans,” noting that the country ranked first in the world in terms of health care costs, and 25th in terms of health care outcomes. He remarked that we pay $1 trillion more than many other developed countries each year on health care.
Some useful websites that give important information about costs, eligibility, definitions, etc.:
• U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: www.healthcare.gov/what-are-my-preventive-care-benefits;
• Fair Health: www.fairhealthconsumer.org;
• Healthcare Bluebook: www.healthcarebluebook.com;
• New Choice Health: www.newchoicehealth.com;
• Cost Helper: www.costhelper.com.
We all have to do our homework in order to buy (or not buy) insurance that will suit us during the enrollment period beginning in October.