For the past several years, Obamacare - or the Affordable Care Act – has been in the news quite a bit. One would think that by now the average American would know the ins and outs of the law, including the penalties assessed for individuals who choose not to buy health insurance. Unfortunately that is not the case, and one reason may be the incessant partisan "spin" about Obamacare by lawmakers and the news media.
When you start searching for a private health insurance plan, it can be difficult to evaluate the various plan offerings. Unlike many other types of insurance, health coverage is available in a number of different formats. In recent years, people have started moving toward Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and away from more restrictive HMOs.
Terms like “maximum out of pocket cost” and “tax-deferred HSA” have become a part of the health insurance lexicon. In other words, as healthcare costs have gone up, insurers and consumers have been using the tax law and preventive care coverage as a way to reduce monthly premiums. But how do you know which plan is best for your specific situation?
If you’re one of the lucky Obamacare “survivors,” you might not be aware of all the changes that this new law has imposed on others. People who have managed to maintain their original health plan since the enactment the Affordable Care Act became law might consider themselves lucky, or perhaps they haven’t noticed the subtle differences quite yet.
Say what you will about Obamacare and its impact on health insurance premiums across the country, but one thing is certain; the law has encouraged a dialogue about healthcare that has allowed consumers to have a voice. High health insurance rates in Colorado have primarily resulted from the state’s geographic rating system, which translated into much higher premiums for some mountain and rural residents.
According to a recent article on NPR.org, "The 7.5 Million Insured Through Obamacare Are Only Part Of The Story," the answer to this question can be quite complicated. The fact that something about the Affordable Care Act is complex comes as no surprise to the many thousands of people who had trouble signing up on the ill-fated web site, Healthcare.gov. But this time the complications are not coming from the administration; rather, the confusion lies in "how" the number of insured Americans is calculated and reported by the media.
It's been nearly three years since this blog has addressed the subject of Arizona's Health Rankings® , but it looks like a lot of good has happened since then. In 2011, America's Health Rankings scored Arizona as number 31 out of 50, but in 2013 this score rose to #28. This is great news for Arizona lawmakers, who are known for being very vocal about health care reform.
If you watch too much cable news, you might come away with the idea that the Affordable Care Act has bankrupted Medicare, or that benefits were being pulled from seniors. With more than 40 million people aged 65 and older in the United States, this would be a major concern, but it simply isn't true. In fact, many Medicare benefits are going to get better because of the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, there are still many naysayers out there peddling an anti-Obamacare agenda who want to make seniors fearful of losing their benefits.
In this season of open enrollment, you may have noticed that employers are starting to push the "High Deductible Health Plan with Health Savings Account" a little more vigorously.
Some companies are even offering a donation to the employee's Health Savings Account (HSA) as an incentive to sign up. If your company has jumped on this bandwagon, take heart. It's really not so bad to be offered this type of plan, but only if you take complete advantage of the tax savings of an HSA.
"Why does health insurance have to be so complicated?" one might ask, particularly in this season of health exchanges, health savings accounts and broken healthcare web sites. Hey, at least it's not as difficult as the U.S. Tax Code, but just give it time. Health insurance is just one of those things that people don't want to learn about; until they need it, that is. Most of us have had company benefits explained to us time and time again, only to need a refresher course every time open enrollment rolls around. Well, get ready, because if you think it was complicated before you may be blindsided by what's on the horizon.
As healthcare costs rise, many insurance providers have started offering flexible plans to meet every budget. Instead of limiting members to a choice between PPO, HMO and Short-Term health coverage, they started offering high-deductible health plans (HDHPs.) While these plans certainly addressed the hefty monthly premiums, they made it difficult for members to reap the benefits without paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. Enter the "Health Savings Account," otherwise known as the HSA.
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