Editor’s note: In February 2021, President Biden signed an executive order to reopen the federal and state health insurance marketplaces during a special enrollment period to help the unemployed and uninsured. the registration period runs on Feb. May 15-15, 2021.
The American Bailout Act became law in March 2021. It expands premium tax credits, allowing more Americans to qualify for a health insurance subsidy over the next two years, along with many other provisions. For a complete rundown of the health care benefits you can receive from the law, visit our US aid plan rundown.
Reading: How do i know if my insurance is aca
how do you know if an insurance plan is an affordable care act (act or obamacare) plan? it’s easy to find out. All plans here must meet certain requirements, so they have a few things in common.
To determine if your health insurance plan is an ACA plan, simply follow the steps below.
1. look for metal level
every plan here has a metal in its name. for example, let’s say you have a plan called “classic silver trail”. path is the insurance company, and silver is the metal level of the plan.
Although all obamacare health insurance plans include certain benefits, the amount the insurance company pays for your health care costs varies. Each plan falls into one of four metal tiers, categories that help you determine the percentage of costs a plan will pay. metal levels include bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.
Basically, the system is set up so that the cheaper the metal, the less expensive the monthly plan premiums will be. but these plans also make you pay a higher percentage of your medical bills. This means that bronze plans tend to have the lowest premiums, which is the amount you pay each month to stay in the plan, but the highest out-of-pocket costs when you need medical care or prescriptions. platinum plans have the highest premiums, but you pay less out of pocket.
Below is a breakdown of the average percentage of health care costs covered by each metal plan.
2. look for essential health benefits
all obamacare plans include ten essential health benefits. These are categories of health services that must be covered by the Affordable Care Act.
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In addition, these benefits have no annual or lifetime limits, which means there is no limit on the coverage of these services.
You can find out if your plan covers them by reviewing your Summary of Benefits and Coverage.
3. check premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions
if you receive automatic financial help to pay for your coverage, you probably have an obamacare plan. aca allows plan members to apply for two types of assistance: premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.
A premium tax credit, also known as a subsidy, lowers the amount you pay each month for your plan. how much you save will depend on your annual income and the size of your household. If your plan has a discount each month, you probably have Obamacare coverage.
In 2021, the US bailout increased the amount of subsidies and extended who could receive them for two years.
Removed a maximum income limit to receive the premium tax credit (previously four times the federal poverty level).
The government also reduced how much you were expected to spend on health insurance (from 2% to 9.83% of your annual income to 0% to 8.5%). If the cost of a benchmark plan (the second cheapest silver plan in your area) costs more than a certain percentage of your annual income, you qualify for subsidies.
A cost-sharing reduction is a discount that lowers the amount you have to pay for deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. your income level and household size will also determine if you qualify for these additional savings. but you must enroll in a silver plan to qualify for a cost-sharing reduction.
Even if you don’t get financial help, you have an obamacare plan if you have a metal level and it covers all 10 essential health benefits.
frequently asked questions about the obamacare plan
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Now that you know the types of Obamacare insurance plans, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions people ask about them.
when do obamacare plans start?
Usually you can join obamacare during the open enrollment period from November 1 to January 15 of each year. if you buy a plan during this time, your coverage will start on January 1.
can you change plans under obamacare?
You can change your obamacare plan during the annual open enrollment period. you won’t be able to change your plan outside of this time period unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.
To qualify for a special enrollment period, you must experience a qualifying life event such as losing your health coverage, moving, being a survivor of domestic abuse, getting married, or having a baby. You have up to 60 days before and 60 days after the life event to change your insurance plan.
can you buy a health plan other than obamacare?
You can buy a non-obamacare plan at any time. you don’t have to wait for open enrollment.
Some alternatives to obamacare include short-term health insurance, faith-based plans, and fixed-indemnity plans. While these plans are often cheaper, they don’t offer the same comprehensive coverage. As a result, some states don’t consider them comprehensive health insurance, and you may face a state tax penalty when you file your taxes for not having health coverage. The Trump administration revoked the federal penalty for not having insurance, but some state penalties are still in place. Also note that these plans may deny you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition.
How the Affordable Care Act Changed Health Care
Today, most employer and individual sponsored health plans meet ACA standards. This means that most health plans include all 10 essential health benefits and cover pre-existing conditions. they all work in the same basic way.
This was not the case before the health reform here. In some cases, people would find out after getting sick or injured that many services were not covered. Entire sections of health care, such as maternity, were sometimes omitted from coverage.
To be on the safe side, if you’re shopping for your own health insurance, a plan here is probably your best coverage option. Although other plans are available, you won’t get as many benefits and you may be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Are you looking for a plan here or are you curious to know how many subsidies you can receive? try our calculator tool to find out.
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