The outcome of the November Presidential election also decided the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Ron Pollack, Executive Director, Families USA says: “The election has settled key issues about the directions our nation’s healthcare will take: It means Obamacare will be implemented, the Medicaid safety net will be strengthened, and Medicare’s guaranteed benefits will not be undermined. As a result, people across America will gain peace of mind knowing that high-quality, affordable healthcare will be there for themselves and their loved ones,”(Healthcare Finance News). This means that implementation will go forward.
This is good news for all Americans, but especially for those who are presently uninsured. But how will this work? The ACA has two main pillars, each of which will be decided on a state-by-state basis:
1) Create a health insurance exchange
2) Expand Medicaid
Each state will have the option of setting up their own health insurance exchange (state-run), allowing the federal government to set up and operate an exchange on behalf of the state (federally-run), or create a state-federal partnership where both entities will cooperatively set up and run the exchange.
What is a health insurance exchange? It can be defined as an online insurance marketplace where consumers can choose from a number of health insurance plans. “The exchanges are supposed to make it easier and more transparent for small businesses and millions of individuals who are not covered through their employers to shop for health insurance,” according to the Washington Post (Obama’s health-care law still faces challenges…). Consumers will be able to compare plans and choose the one that best fits their healthcare needs and income.
Regarding Medicaid expansion, the Pew Center states: “States must also decide whether they want to accept generous federal funding to expand their Medicaid programs to cover millions more people,” (Pew States – Stateline). Federal funds will cover this initially, but states will be asked to cover 10% of the cost eventually. Again, we are awaiting the states’ individual decisions on whether to expand Medicaid, and we will keep you up-dated.
For more information, we recommend this website: HealthCare.gov, this provides the most current analysis of the Health Care Law.
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