The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, also known as Obamacare) of 2010 has caused a great deal of partisan conflict within the U.S. government, even resulting in a government shutdown beginning October 1st, 2013 regarding its funding sources during a global recession. Beyond the partisan conflict, the rollout of the PPACA means that every U.S. citizen presently without health coverage will have to sign up for some level of coverage or pay a financial penalty to opt out (1% of their income or $95, whichever is greater).
The all-encompassing website www.healthcare.gov is an excellent place for U.S. citizens to begin gathering facts about Obamacare. The site serves to dispel partisan myths and fears by providing concrete information about how consumers can expect their health insurance coverage (and the costs of that coverage) to change. There is also information regarding the different levels of coverage for individuals (catastrophic, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum) as well as their costs depending on income level. U.S. citizens can access their state’s health insurance exchange, a virtual marketplace that allows for direct comparison among different health insurance coverage in their state.
Understandably, many U.S. citizens are worried about how they will be penalized if they opt out of health insurance coverage. Especially in a global recession, the $95 (or 1% of income) financial penalty has caused severe partisan conflict citing the difficulty low-income citizens will have in meeting this obligation. However, this mandate is meant to address the costs that are presently incurred when healthcare services are rendered to citizens without insurance. Healthcare providers must compensate for the healthcare services by raising baseline prices to consumers, while insurance companies also compensate by raising their premiums for subscribers. Low-income individuals and families will also most likely qualify for federal assistance in purchasing their health insurance coverage through the state exchanges.
Citizens may wonder whether what specific kinds of coverage will allow them to bypass the Affordable Care Act’s packages. The government-sponsored ACA website has information on what