The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, is intended to provide better access and a cheap health insurance option for millions of Americans. The new law is intended to be implemented in stages , with many of the law’s provisions going into effect in 2013.
The law remains controversial, with many debates on whether it will provide cheap health insurance or will contribute to escalating government debt and spiraling health care costs. The elections of 2012 and a Supreme Court ruling could upend all or part of the law.
Until the act is changed or repealed through legislation or litigation, it remains the law of the land and is being implemented. Going forward into 2013, a number of key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be implemented. While 2014 remains the year when the greatest number of provisions are enacted, some important components of the act will be put into play in 2013.
For insurance consumers, understanding insurance basics, such as how premiums are determined and other concepts of health insurance remains their best bet for navigating the new act and making informed decisions about their coverage.
Agenda For 2013
One major component of Obamacare that will become effective on Jan. 1, 2013 is a tax hike on self-employment income and wages of single individuals who make more than $200,000 per year and married couples who make more than $250,000. The tax will increase by .9 percent, and the money will go to pay for some of the portions of the act intended to help provide cheap health insurance. Also, any investment income of singles who make more than $200,000 per year or couples making $250,000 will be subject to a 3.8 percent tax.
Other key parts of the act being implemented include:
- The law will require states to cover Medicaid payments to physicians at 100 percent of what Medicaid pays doctors. The federal government is expected to give states the funding for this coverage.
- The law will create a new program that will help hospitals and medical care providers to cooperate more closely. A payment bundling system will be established that will result in medical care providers being paid a flat rate for providing care for an incident or episode, instead of the current system where multiple claims are submitted to Medicare. This system will encourage providers to work together and work more efficiently.
- The act will also provide an additional two years of funding to the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Reforming children’s health insurance is a major part of the act.
What It Means For You
For customers seeking cheap health insurance from a private insurer, the 2013 changes won’t likely have as large of an impact on rates as other portions of the act. If you’re eligible for a government health care plan for yourself, your children or aged members of your family, the changes could have some impact on your costs, and will hopefully provide aid to economically struggling people trying to find coverage.
The best way to find out how Obamacare impacts your chances of finding cheap health insurance is to talk to an insurance agent or public health official. These professionals are trained to understand the complexities of the insurance industry, and can help you make an informed decision regarding your health insurance.
As mentioned before, Obamacare is not set in stone and may be repealed, in whole or in part. While a full repeal of the act is unlikely considering the institutional inertia of the U.S. government, it is highly possible that the Supreme Court may roll back parts of the act, or a new Congress will repeal some of its provisions.