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Not a lot of Obamacare 2015 Changes have been brought to the Affordable Care Act compared to previous years. But the few changes that are present may mean the difference between being covered and having to pay out of pocket the next time you visit the doctor. As is with every new year, the costs of health care have augmented in comparison to the previous year. For almost all Americans, this of course means higher premiums. But while this means a harder hit on consumers’ bank accounts, the rate at which costs increase is projected to be moving slower than previously. In other words, there is less of a significant increase from year to year than formerly recorded.
Will Premiums for Obamacare Coverage go up?
This does not, however, change the fact that consumers will still have to pay more for their premiums now than they did in 2014. Despite this overall increased financial toll, this year’s rising Federal Poverty Level (FPL) requirements means there is in an increased threshold for cost assistance eligibility as well. This results in an increased number of low-income Americans who now are eligible for cost assistance. Consumers who were not eligible for cost assistance this year may be eligible in 2016 if their income for 2015 falls under the new FPL, which will help more of those who struggle to pay for health care.
Will more Coverage be available?
Availability of coverage also increased this year, with 25% more plans being made available by insurers to suit different consumers’ needs. 2015 also brings the employer mandate into effect, requiring businesses with more than 100 full-time equivalent employees to cover the medical costs of their full-time workers. As for small businesses with 50 or less full-time employees, employers now have the option of using the SHOP (or Small business Health Options Program) to get coverage for employees and apply for tax credits.
Does “if you like it you can keep it” still apply?
For those that have “Grandfathered plans”, or plans that were in effect prior to the instatement of the Affordable Care Act, changes in ObamaCare may mean having to find new coverage in the marketplace. Despite the “if you like it you can keep it” tagline often used by politicians in last year’s midterm elections, whether or not you can keep your grandfathered plan depends on whether your state and your insurer continues to offer that specific plan, and is no longer an indefinite guarantee as was led to believe. Whether or not you agree with Obama’s health care plan, the fact remains that obtaining sufficient medical coverage seems more pertinent now than ever. With more options for insurance plans and a hefty fee for those who remain uninsured, this year’s changes in the Affordable Care Act seem to be making it easier for Americans to choose health coverage, if not pushing them to become insured.