Here are the key elements of the Affordable Care Act as it applies to us today:
- Everyone can now buy coverage, even those with pre-existing conditions.
- Medicaid in states (like Illinois) that opted to expand it, now covers very low-income people who have not been covered before, in particular, non-disabled adults without children.
- Insurance companies are no longer able to drop people when they get sick.
- Insurance companies are now required to provide free preventive services.
- Your premiums can no longer be based on your gender or health condition.
- Small businesses can get tax credits to help secure coverage for their employees.
- Individuals and small businesses have more choices and improved quality when shopping for insurance through a new competitive health care marketplace, Get Covered Illinois.
In March 2010, President Obama signed a health care reform bill – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – into law. Since then, the State of Illinois has been implementing the changes required by this health law to provide affordable and quality care for all Illinois residents. This video explains, simply, this important, yet complex, legislation.
Does it affect me?
Although this new health law will be phased in over many years, the Affordable Care Act will eventually affect all Illinois residents – in fact, many provisions are affecting people right now. The new legislation will impact individuals and families with children, small business owners, people with disabilities and pre-existing conditions, young adults, and seniors. It will provide coverage opportunities to people who are uninsured and will provide more affordable coverage to many small business employees or self-paying individuals who have insurance now.
Who will pay for it? What will it cost?
Many have concerns about the new health care law funding. The reality is that funding for the new health law will come from several sources.
The total cost of the new health care law over 10 years (2010 to 2019) is projected to be about
$940 billion. This cost will be offset by cuts in spending and increased fees and taxes, resulting in a reduction in total spending of $124 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Large employers, individuals, the federal government and states will share the financial burden.
What is happening when?
President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010. Since then, many provisions have already been put into place. Click on the timeline below to see key dates. You can also click here to view an interactive timeline that will outline more of the health law’s provisions that will be rolled out through 2018.
Myths & Facts
Myth #1: Health care reform means the government can make life-and-death decisions for you.
Fact: Individuals, their doctors and their families will continue to make life-and-death decisions, regardless of a patient's age.
Myth #2: Health care reform is just a government takeover of our health care—isn’t this just socialized medicine?
Fact: The health law relies heavily on private insurers to provide coverage. It also strengthens the regulation of those insurers. Medicare, a government health care program, will continue to provide a large percentage of care to older and disabled Americans. Medicaid will expand to cover a greater proportion of very low-income adults.
Myth #3: The Affordable Care Act will require patients to go through a bureaucrat or panel to reach a doctor.
Fact: You will still choose your own doctor or insurance plan without interference.
Myth #4: The law will provide subsidized insurance to undocumented immigrants who may be in the country illegally.
Fact: Undocumented immigrants will not be allowed to purchase policies through the new health care exchange, with or without federal subsidies. Although they will not be required to buy insurance, they may still be able to purchase on the private market.
Myth #5: Health care reform will contribute to rising health care costs and will increase the deficit
Fact: The Congressional Budget Office released a report in August 2010 showing that repealing the Affordable Care Act would actually increase the deficit. Click here for details.
Myth #6: Health care reform will be paid for by seniors—most of the savings will come from cutting Medicare benefits.
Fact: The new law will not cut benefits for seniors; the same protections that Medicare beneficiaries have now—and more—will be there in the future. In fact, the Medicare Part D program donut hole will be closed over the next 10 years. Savings from the Medicare program will be realized through better coordinated care and reduced hospitalizations.
Myth #7: You will be forced to purchase insurance you can’t afford.
Fact: The Affordable Care Act will make health insurance affordable for everyone, with premium tax credits and cost sharing subsidies for those who need help buying coverage and a hardship waiver for those who still can't afford it.
Myth #8: The small business tax credits won’t actually provide relief.
Fact: Small businesses with low- and moderate-income workers will receive $40 billion in new tax credits to help cover the cost of health coverage for their employees. In general, the credit is available to small employers (with fewer than 25 employees) that pay at least half of the cost of single coverage for their employees. The credit is worth up to 35% of a small business' premium costs in 2010 (25% for tax-exempt employers). An estimated 194,000 small businesses in Illinois will be eligible to receive these tax credits this year.
Tools at your fingertips
Your Questions, Answered
Q An individual is self employed. If they estimate their 2014 income is over 138% FPL and obtain a plan in the Marketplace with APTC (Advanced Premium Tax Credit), what happens at tax time if the income is actually below 138% FPL and the person could have been enrolled in Medicaid with no APTC? Would the person have to repay the APTC received?