Frequently Asked Question

What is health insurance?
Health insurance is a type of insurance coverage that covers the costs of an insured individual’s medical and surgical expenses. Based on the type of health care insurance coverage, the insured may pay costs out-of-pocket and be reimbursed, or the insurer will make direct payments to the provider. Health insurance is a way to pay for health care. It also protects you from paying the full costs of medical services when you’re injured or sick. Just like car insurance or home insurance, you are able to choose a plan and agree to pay a certain rate, or premium, each month. Often times, you, the “insured” choose a medical ‘provider’ for care. A “provider” is a clinic, hospital, laboratory, health care practitioner, or pharmacy. The “insured” is the owner of the health insurance policy; the person with the health insurance coverage.

What is the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
The Affordable Care Act, also referred to as healthcare reform, is a piece of legislation, and most commonly referred to by its nickname Obamacare. The ACA aims to stem the growth in healthcare spending in the United States. Within those aims are rules for insurance companies and consumers alike. The major emphasis, and most important one, is on ensuring that all patients have adequate access to treatment when they need it and to prevent patients from being susceptible to excessive debt associated with medical costs. The law does, however, mandate that all Americans who are able to financially obtain insurance do so. It also aims to eliminate healthcare inequality by doing away with associated discrimination in care by making it illegal to charge differing amounts for healthcare based on health history, gender, or salary status. One of the primary aspects of the ACA is the establishment of a healthcare marketplace that allows Americans the opportunity to compare insurance costs and obtain financial assistance in coverage if qualified. It eliminates lifetime and annual limits on healthcare spending in an effort to reduce the number of bankruptcies associated with healthcare costs. Additionally, it assists patients who have been unable to obtain insurance in the past due to pre-existing medical conditions. The ACA also extends the age of dependent coverage to 26, as well as mandating coverage for preventative and routine care with no out-of-pocket expense. Another provision of the ACA is the requirement of employers to provide health insurance for all full-time employees by the end of 2015.

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