The Good Stuff: What Obamacare will bring in 2014
We have been advised that the details, regulations and definitions are all in place to implement the really important elements of the Affordable Care Act next year. These are the familiar talking points that were used to move the bill forward through the legislative process against the powerful pushback by conservatives who were bound to see it defeated. They are listed below:
- Guaranteed Availability
Nearly all health insurance companies offering coverage to individuals and employers will be required to sell health insurance policies to all consumers. No one can be denied health insurance because they have or had an illness.
- Fair Health Insurance Premiums
Health insurance companies offering coverage to individuals and small employers will only be allowed to vary premiums based on age, tobacco use, family size, and geography. Basing premiums on other factors will be illegal. The factors that are no longer permitted in 2014 include health status, past insurance claims, gender, occupation, how long an individual has held a policy, or size of the small employer.
- Guaranteed Renewability
Health insurance companies will no longer refuse to renew coverage because an individual or an employee has become sick. You may renew your coverage at your option.
- Single Risk Pool
Health insurance companies will no longer be able to charge higher premiums to higher cost enrollees by moving them into separate risk pools. Insurers are required to maintain a single state-wide risk pool for the individual market and single state-wide risk pool for the small group market.
- Catastrophic Plans
Young adults and people for whom coverage would otherwise be unaffordable will have access to a catastrophic plan in the individual market. Catastrophic plans generally will have lower premiums, protect against high out-of-pocket costs, and cover recommended preventive services without cost sharing.
I predict that once the general public discovers the new world of possibilities for access to good health care they will never let it go back to what it was. It will become so quickly adopted as the new norm that few will remember that they had ever been convinced that Obamacare was a dangerous Socialist scheme.