The Affordable Care Act
The ACA (Affordable Care Act), also known as the Obamacare health plan, was signed into law in 2010. The ACA was designed to protect consumers from insurance company tactics that could increase patient costs or limit buyers’ access to healthcare services. Millions of citizens have benefited by obtaining health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Many of these individuals were unemployed or hired in low-wage positions. Some were unable to work due to a disability or family obligations. Others could not obtain affordable health insurance due to a preexisting condition like a chronic disease.
The Affordable Care Act has been mired with controversies despite its positive outcomes. Conservatives were outraged by the tax hikes and higher insurance premiums needed to fund Obamacare subsidies. Some have criticized the additional workload and costs imposed on service providers in the healthcare industry. They also believe that it will impact the quality of care provided to the patients.
As a result, there has been a lot of discussion about repealing or overhauling the Affordable Care Act.
How the ACA is structured
Initially, people were often confused about whether the Obamacare and Affordable Care Act was the same. They certainly are! The term “Obamacare” was coined by opponents of the Affordable Care Act.
The ACA’s initial “three-legged stool” approach allows insurers to earn even more by providing more comprehensive insurance coverage. The three pillars of the ACA as designed originally are:
- Regulate insurance companies to provide better medical services for more citizens, including those with preexisting medical conditions.
- Require everyone, particularly healthy Americans, to buy a health plan to spread out costs (this is referred to as the “individual mandate”).
- Help low-income families and people afford health coverage through premium subsidies and a Medicaid expansion.
The idea behind it is that if we necessitate private health insurance companies to cover everyone, including Americans with preexisting conditions, we also need healthy Americans to purchase health insurance so that providers do not encounter losses. So, by helping low-income Americans with grants, more Americans can get health insurance than ever before.
The Tax Deductions and Jobs Act of 2017 repealed the penalty for those who did not purchase health insurance. The ordinance became effective in 2019. Although the full impact of this decision is unknown, the healthcare system has remained operational over the years.
Do you need assistance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
Your opinion on the benefits and drawbacks of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act might be influenced by your political preferences and the role you believe the state government should play in providing medical care access to Americans.
Even over a decade after Obamacare was first enacted, Americans can either approve or disapprove of the Affordable Care Act based on the political party they support. According to the Gallup poll conducted in 2020, 84 percent of self-identified Democrats support the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while 87 percent of self-identified Republicans oppose it.
There is no way to get everyone to agree on one side of the Obamacare debate.
No discussion of the pros and cons of the Affordable care act can make people agree on one viewpoint. The way people consider the benefits and drawbacks of the ACA is likely to be influenced by their priorities. Nevertheless, when asked about specific conditions of the ACA, most Americans prefer certain aspects over others.
The Affordable Care Act is a once-in-a-generation act of Congress. It would take entire books to read all the consequences of the 900-page law, which has had a massive impact on America’s medical care system.
Additionally, if you have any doubts or questions about the Affordable Care Act, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons of ACA, which will undoubtedly clarify all of your questions.
Please take a look at them!
The Pros and Cons of the ACA (Affordable Care Act)
i) More Americans have access to health insurance
More than 16 million U.S. citizens obtained health insurance plans within the first four years of the Affordable Care Act. Young adults represent a significant proportion of these newly insured individuals.
ii) Health insurance is cheaper for many people
Insurance companies must now subsidize at least 80% of their insurance premiums on healthcare services and improvements. The ACA also aims to prevent service providers from making unreasonable rate increases.
Although insurance plans aren’t free, people now have a more comprehensive range of coverage options.
iii) Preexisting conditions are no longer grounds for disapproval of coverage
The preexisting medical conditions, such as cancer, have made it difficult for many individuals to obtain health insurance before the Affordable Care Act. Most insurance companies would not provide services for these conditions. They explained that this was because your injury or illness occurred before the insurance plans covered you. According to Obamacare or Affordable Care Act, the insurer cannot refuse coverage to consumers due to their pre-existing conditions.
iv) No time limitations exist on Medical care
Some people with chronic health problems could not obtain insurance before the Affordable Care Act. Furthermore, insurance companies limit the amount of money they spend on a single customer.
Insurance companies can no longer provide health coverage to their customers with a predetermined dollar limit.
v) More screenings and physical examinations are covered
The Affordable Care Act covered many preventive care services and screening tests. They typically have low copayments and deductibles. The hope is that by being proactive in your healthcare, you will avoid or postpone significant health issues in the future.
Healthier customers will lead to considerable savings over time. For example, diabetes screening and early detection may help you avoid more costly and debilitating treatment later.
“The ACA will help all Americans enjoy better and cheaper health services in the decades to come,” says Dr. Christopher, an internist in West Virginia and representative of Doctors for America.
vi) Prescription drugs are less expensive
The Affordable Care Act promised to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Many people, particularly the elderly, cannot afford all their medications. Moreover, the number of prescriptions and generic medicines covered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) increases every year.
According to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services press statement from 2017, Medicare members have saved more than $26.8 billion in prescription drugs under Obamacare.
vii) Expanded and inclusive Medicare and Medicaid
In the regions that have opted to expand their coverage, Medicaid now covers uninsured Americans earning less than 138 percent of the FPL (federal poverty level). This means that many people living in poverty in the United States can still get health insurance.
viii) Dependents can continue to get coverage through their parent’s insurance plan for a more extended period
Your children can get coverage under your health insurance plan until they reach the age of 26.
ix) Limits have been phase-out
Constraints on lifetime benefits have been eliminated, with annual limits gradually phased out. However, it does not apply to grandfathered insurance plans.
i) Many people need to pay higher insurance premiums
Insurance companies now offer a broader range of benefits and are more willing to cover people with preexisting conditions. This resulted in higher premiums for many people who already had health insurance.
ii) You might be charged a fine if you don’t buy health insurance
The Affordable care Act aims for individuals to be insured year-round. You need to pay a small fine if you are uninsured and do not qualify for an exemption. Recent events have changed this sanction, and it will be phased out beginning with the 2019 tax year.
Some individuals find it intrusive for the federal government to mandate health insurance. Affordable Care Act proponents argue that not having health insurance increases the cost of healthcare for everyone else.
iii) Taxes are steadily increasing as a result of the ACA
Several new tax obligations were passed into law to help fund the Affordable Care Act, including sales taxes on medical devices and pharmaceuticals. People with high incomes also need to pay higher taxes. Funding also comes from cash reserves in Medicare payments.
The wealthy are helping to finance health insurance for poor people. However, some economists believe that the ACA will help reduce the deficit in the long run and might eventually impact the budget.
iv) It’s best to be prepared for enrollment day
The ACA website experienced many technical issues when it was first launched. This made it difficult for people to sign up, resulting in delays and fewer registrations than expected.
Although the website issues were eventually resolved, many customers have complained that choosing the right family or business insurance is complicated. The enrollment period has also been shortened in recent years to between November 1 and December 15.
Many hospitals and public health agencies have established programs to assist consumers and business owners with the setup. There are also sections on the ACA website dedicated to explaining the procedures and available options.
v) Businesses are cutting employee hours to avoid protecting employees
Opponents of Obamacare claimed that the law would result in the loss of jobs. Although the number of full-time jobs has increased in recent years, there have been reports of businesses cutting hours worker schedules.
Organizations with 50 or more FTEs (full-time employees) must provide insurance or make payments to cover employee healthcare costs. Companies can avoid the 30-hour-per-week definition of a full-time employee by reducing hours.
vi) Tax penalties
While there is currently no federal penalty for uninsured people, some states enact their healthcare mandates.
vii) Shrinking plan networks
Many insurance companies shrunk their provider networks to save money while implementing ACA requirements. As a result, customers have fewer “in-network” providers.
viii) Finding the right insurance can be difficult
Shopping for insurance coverage can be difficult with limited enrollment windows, website issues, and multiple program options.
The Affordable Care Act undergoes revisions each year. The legislation can be changed, and budget decisions can impact its implementation. Changes in the healthcare industry and changes in the political makeup of future presidential administrations make the ACA likely to change for years to come. In a large 2019 study, researchers discovered that people in the United States who received health insurance benefits had a better overall experience with their healthcare. You can also take advantage of healthcare services to improve your overall health. Enroll right away through Insurance Shopping and get started on a new health plan.