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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

How Health Reform Affects Insurance Costs: FAQ

The health reform law affects health care costs differently depending on where you get your health insurance and how much money you earn. Here are answers to some common questions.

I work for a large company. Will my premiums go up?

They might. But premiums have been going up for years even before the health law took effect. Because the cost of medical care rises each year, so does the cost of health insurance. Although the law seeks to lower health care costs, that isn’t likely to change.

However, the law requires large employers to pay additional fees and taxes. That may increase your employer’s costs, which it may pass along to you. Some changes from health reform may drive up premiums a small amount, while other changes may lower them a small amount.

I'm self-employed and have health insurance that I bought on my own. I've heard that my premiums will go up. Is that true?

That depends on a few details.

Under the health reform law, you can buy insurance through your state's insurance Marketplace, also known as an Exchange. You may find that the premium is somewhat higher.

In part, that's because new health plans that comply with the law will likely cover more services than old plans, for instance mental health care and maternity care. In addition, insurers can no longer turn away people with existing health conditions who may be more expensive to cover.

However, new plans also come with more financial protections. They cover more services, which can reduce how much you have to pay for your health care. They also limit how much you’re required to spend on your care each year before your insurer pays your bills in full.

Keep in mind that under the health reform law, depending on your income level, you may receive tax credits to help lower the cost of your premiums. If you are only getting insurance for yourself, you can make up to about $46,000 a year and still qualify for a tax credit.

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