Considered one of the most important pieces of legislation ever enacted by the United States Congress, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in March of 2010 after President Barack Obama signed the historic healthcare bill. More than 10 years have passed since President Obama signed the ACA into law, and some of the original legislation no longer has relevance in the healthcare industry or certain statutes have required major adjustments. Seeing the need to modify the original ACA, President Joe Biden has spoken several times about updating the landmark healthcare law.
Overview of the ACA
The ACA contains a long list of healthcare provisions, including the extension of coverage to millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans, implementing measures to reduce the costs associated with healthcare, and eliminating the practice of denying healthcare coverage because of the existence of an adverse health condition. Congress also added a provision that ended waiting periods that employers imposed on workers that needed to address a pre-existing medical issue.
In addition to qualifying Americans for health insurance coverage with pre-existing medical conditions, the ACA also guarantees health insurance coverage for Americans regardless of age, income, and/or health status. The ACA enhanced the healthcare benefits offered by insurance policies by requiring compliant plans to provide essential healthcare services. ACA-compliant plans also have to provide a long list of free preventive healthcare services that previously forced policyholders to pay for services with out-of-pocket payments.
One of the most popular components of the ACA regards the availability of premium and cost-sharing subsidies to reduce the cost of health insurance for Americans that qualify for the savings. Consumers have the option to search for the right policy through the health insurance marketplace, which allows them to compare costs and coverages. Millions of Americans received healthcare coverage because the ACA expanded the coverage provided by Medicare in many states.
How to Maximize Healthcare Benefits
During the open enrollment period, which runs for about six weeks at the end of each year, you can purchase healthcare insurance in the healthcare marketplace. The key is to follow a few tips to maximize healthcare benefits, while minimizing expenses.
Understand What the Marketplace Has to Offer
Many Americans who shop for health insurance coverage in the national healthcare marketplace do not take advantage of the benefits because they do not know the benefits exist. Another mistake made by healthcare consumers is paying for services that their health insurance policies cover. Federal law requires healthcare insurance companies to provide consumers with a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) that describes health insurance benefits.
Shop Like a Pro
The open enrollment period gives you plenty of time to compare different health insurance plans. Because health insurance laws change every year, you might receive a notice from your insurer that your healthcare benefits have changed. This means you should shop around for another policy that provides you with similar healthcare services, without making a huge dent in your monthly budget. Simply access the federal government’s website to determine which health insurance plan that is available in the marketplace works best for your unique circumstances.
Stay in the Network
Another mistake made by the recipients of healthcare coverage is going outside the network to receive medical services. One of the most important criteria for selecting the best health insurance policy is choosing one in which your healthcare provider is part of the insurance policy’s network. Receiving healthcare services outside your network can substantially increase the cost of your medical bills.
Finally, take advantage of discounts and special healthcare programs that are offered under the ACA. Audit every medical bill to ensure a healthcare provider has not padded the cost of providing medical care.
What is Biden’s Affordable Care Act Lifeline?
Joined by former President Barack Obama, President Joe Biden recently announced several regulatory changes made to the ACA. The changes, which also the President and the media referred to as the Biden lifeline, make health insurance more affordable for millions of Americans. However, the changes made to the ACA might not prevent healthcare consumers from experiencing large premium increases in 2023.
The Biden lifeline eliminates what is referred to as the “family glitch,” which stems from healthcare laws that address eligibility for premium subsidies. With the encouragement of former President Obama, the Biden lifeline prevents some families from losing out on healthcare insurance subsidies. The lack of subsidies prices many families out of the health insurance marketplace.
According to current ACA regulations, workers that qualify for an employer’s health insurance program cannot receive the financial assistance that is offered in the ACA marketplace.
The Bottom Line
The Biden lifeline for the ACA is projected to allow millions of Americans to receive financial relief from the high cost of health insurance policies. Under the American Rescue Plan Act that Congress enacted in March of 2021, eligible Americans received an increase in health insurance subsidies. During the joint press conference with former President Obama, President Biden called for reducing the deductibles paid for health insurance by working families. President Biden also called for a new commitment to finding cures for illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Even a decade after the Affordable Care Act was passed, finding health insurance is still one of those things that is a mystery for many Americans. If you’re looking for help understanding your options, Insurance Broker Hub can help.
Our free service gives you access to an independent network of national brokers who have the experience and expertise to design a plan around your needs and budget. Ready to get started? Simply request a no obligation health insurance quote here.