You may already benefit from health care reform, since the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010. Now, more people in your family may be covered by insurance. Or you might be getting more free preventive care.
More changes to health insurance will take place in the next few years, too. You need to know about them so you'll know if they affect you.
In Case You Didn't Know
Many changes take effect starting in 2014. You're one of the people that health reform may benefit if:
- You have not been able to afford health insurance.
- Your income has been a little too high to get Medicaid.
- You have young adult children who need insurance coverage.
- You have depression or another mental health concern.
- You have a chronic or serious health condition.
Fewer Limits on Your Coverage
With changes from health reform, you are less likely to be told by a health plan that you can't get insurance or that your coverage has run out.
You can have a long-standing health problem and still get insurance. No matter how good or bad your health might be, health plans must let you buy insurance. Plus, having a health problem won’t increase how much you pay for your insurance.
You do not have to worry that your health coverage will run out. Your health plan cannot limit what it spends on your covered benefits each year or in your lifetime. You may already be getting this benefit. If you haven't yet, the day the limits end depends on the date of your insurance policy. Starting in 2014, though, the rule applies to everyone.
More Affordable Health Plans
Most people are required by law to have health insurance by 2014. But don't panic. The government has set up ways to help you.
You may be able to buy less expensive insurance through a Marketplace, also called an Exchange. Every state will have a Marketplace to help you sort out your coverage options and select a plan that may best fit your needs. This may help if you don’t have insurance now or if you have trouble paying for it.
You can begin reviewing your new insurance options through a Marketplace starting Oct. 1, 2013. Once you’ve selected a health plan, coverage starts Jan. 1, 2014. You'll be able to use a Marketplace online, in person, or by phone. Marketplaces will have people trained to answer your questions, called navigators.
Find out more about the Marketplace in your state.
Financial Help to Buy Insurance
In addition to finding a less expensive health plan, you may also qualify for financial help to help reduce its cost.
You may be able to get a tax credit to lower the cost of your insurance. Whether you qualify for a tax credit, which is also called a subsidy, will depend on your income -- how much money you think you will make in 2013 -- and how many people are in your family.