Updated: April 1, 2018
What is the Affordable Care Act?A comprehensive health care reform law enacted in March 2010 (sometimes known as ACA, PPACA, or “Obamacare".
This law has 3 primary goals:
- Make affordable health insurance available to more people. The law provides consumers with subsidies (“premium tax credits”) that lower costs for households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level.
- Expand the Medicaid program to cover all adults with income below 138% of the federal poverty level. (Not all states have expanded their Medicaid programs.)
- Support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the costs of health care generally.
Health Insurance Terminology
Premium – The amount you pay to an insurance company for a health insurance policy - this is usually a monthly payment.
Deductible – The amount of money you must pay for medical services before your insurance begins paying.
Co-Insurance – The percentage of your medical costs that you are required to pay after your deductible has been paid. There is occasionally a maximum out-of-pocket amount that limits the amount of co-insurance you are required to pay.
Pre-Existing Condition – A medical condition experienced before the start date of your insurance policy.
Exclusion – A medical condition that the insurance policy does not cover.
Co-Payment – The amount that you are required to pay out-of-pocket, up front for a service or medication.
How much does health insurance cost?
The cost of a health insurance varies from plan to plan. Below are some good questions for you to ask to make sure you are choosing the best policy for you and your family:
- What benefits are offered?
- How much will I pay before insurance coverage begins? (How much is the deductible?)
- What will I pay for services after I pay the deductible?
- In total, how much will I have to pay if one of my family members or I become ill? (What is the out-of-pocket maximum?)