Affordable Care Act - Resources

The Affordable Care Act marketplace of insurance options went online October 1 at HealthCare.gov. We've been covering this story for awhile and have these recent reports to help you get up to speed on what the ACA means for you and your family:

Do You Know Enough About The Affordable Care Act?

KMUW's Carla Eckels recently talked to Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger about how the Affordable Care Act is going to affect people in Kansas and what to expect from the health insurance marketplace that opened on October 1. 

Affordable Care Act May Prevent Trips To ER

The Affordable Care Act may make it easier to get preventative care for many people who may now be using the emergency room. People who put off getting check-ups and tests for minor issues can find themselves with a serious illness. Even a bad tooth, if it is ignored, can manifest into a life-threatening situation.

How The Affordable Care Act Is Going To Affect Your Business

The Affordable Care Act marketplace of insurance options goes online October 1. Businesses both small and large have some choices to make, but there are some resources available to help you with that complicated process.

Individual Health Mandate Helps Balance The Field

Health Care Navigators Ready To Go To Work

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The Kansas Insurance Department, at InsureKS.org, is providing an interactive calculator called ALEX that will help assess your individual health insurance situation.

Credit InsureKS.org

Click here to get started with ALEX now.

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Helpful FAQs from InsureKS.org:

What is the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

Legislation signed by President Obama on March 23, 2010, that made historic changes in the availability and delivery of health insurance, Medicaid and health policy nationwide. Commonly referred to as the health reform law, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and Obamacare.

What changes are already in place?

  • Lifetime dollar limits on essential health benefits aren’t allowed. Annual dollar limits on essential health benefits are being phased out by January 1, 2014.
  • The appeal procedures available to consumers are different.
  • Insurers can’t deny coverage to children younger than 19 years old because of a pre-existing condition.
  • Nearly all adult children up to age 26 are eligible to remain on a parent’s health insurance policy, regardless of the child’s marital status, financial dependency, enrollment in school, or place of residence.
  • In-network and participating providers must cover preventive services. There can be no cost-sharing for preventative services.
  • Consumers have more access to information about proposed rate changes.
  • Medical loss ratio standards limit how much of premium dollars insurers can spend on administrative expenses.
  • All insurers must use a standardized Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), which will make it easier to compare plans.
  • Small businesses that provide health care for employees can apply for a tax credit.
  • Persons with Medicare prescription drug coverage receive a rebate to help cover the cost of the “donut hole.” This “donut hole” should be totally phased out by 2020.
  • ACA made subsidized coverage available in every state for people with pre-existing conditions who can’t find coverage in the private market. However, because there’s not enough money, no new enrollments in this program are being accepted.

 What changes will take effect on January 1, 2014?

  • Plans must include new consumer protections. Health insurers can no longer deny or refuse to renew coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition.  They also can’t charge a higher premium due to a person’s gender or health condition.
  • Insurers must cover routine medical costs if a person participates in a clinical trial for cancer or other life-threatening diseases. Insurance plans also can’t put annual dollar limits on essential health benefits.
  • Individuals who can afford it must have basic health insurance coverage, referred to in the ACA as “minimum essential coverage.”
  • Exchanges, which will begin enrollment on October 1, 2013, are expected to start operating in every state.
  • Individuals and families who need help affording coverage may have access to financial assistance when they shop in the new health insurance exchanges.

See more questions and answers for individuals, employers and employees.