Two white hands cupped underneath a floating, red heart that is glowing with happiness from having health insurance

Is ObamaCare the Same as Health Insurance?

In 2014, ObamaCare was enacted. It required people to get health insurance either through a private provider or state and federally-based coverage, but is ObamaCare the same as health insurance? This explanation may help you understand ObamaCare and the Affordable Care Act a little better.

What is ObamaCare?

The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, is a healthcare reform law that expands and improves access to health care through regulation and taxes. It requires everyone to get health insurance either through the ObamaCare health insurance plans market, a private provider, or your workplace. Those who don’t get insurance will have to pay a fee when taxes are due as a penalty. The fee is $695 per adult or $347.50 per child for the year of 2016, and it could change for next year. You can look up the penalty on IRS.gov each year if you don't have insurance.

Is ObamaCare a Health Insurance Plan? 

ObamaCare and the Affordable Care Act is not insurance. It's just a law that is beginning to reform healthcare. As part of the Act, ObamaCare did expand Medicaid eligibility and offers cost assistance for those getting health insurance through state-based marketplaces. However, at the base, ObamaCare is not insurance. There may be ObamaCare health insurance plans, but these insurance plans are funded federally or at the state level. 

To see if you qualify for health care through federal or state-based health insurance programs with ObamaCare, you can check out HealthCare.gov. This website can help you find coverage based on your income for individuals, families, and even small businesses. HealthCare.gov can also let you know if you qualify for any stipends that can help you pay for coverage. 

What Did ObamaCare Change?

There are three primary mandates that the ObamaCare healthcare plans—either federal or state-based insurance—require. The first is that children or dependents can stay on the health insurance plans for parents up to the age of 25. This allows college students or those who may not have an income to remain covered until they’re able to get insurance on their own.

The second mandate is that insurance companies cannot drop those who are “excessively” sick because they are costly. Sometimes companies would find ways to drop people that were costing more in coverage than the average person, and ObamaCare restricted this activity. 
The third mandate enacted through the ObamaCare healthcare plan was that insurance companies couldn’t deny people who have pre-existing conditions. Additionally, it allows someone that has a pre-existing condition the right to an insurance policy at the same price as someone who doesn’t have the medical issue. 

Besides the mandates, the Affordable Care Act stopped insurance companies from setting a cap on how much each plan covered for those with long-term illnesses. For example, those who need chemotherapy may have had a cap before the reform, but now the long-term care has to be paid by your plan. 

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