The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has significantly changed the U.S. health care system, bringing guaranteed issue of coverage, tax credits, and the Health Insurance Marketplace. Here's what Kansans like you need to know right now:
Quality coverage for all
The ACA provides greater access to health insurance by making it possible for anyone, regardless of their current or previous health condition, to purchase health insurance. It also mandates that all plans offered on the Marketplace include the same essential health benefits and preventive services.
Essential health benefits
No matter what plan you purchase, you are guaranteed to have essential health benefits including coverage for: ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse disorders, prescription drugs, rehabilitative and habilitative services, laboratory services, preventive and wellness services, chronic disease management, and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.
Plans sold on the Marketplace also include preventive services you can receive with no cost-sharing involved. So things like breast and colon cancer screenings, screening for diabetes, blood pressure and high cholesterol, and routine vaccinations will all be provided without you having to pay a copay, deductible or coinsurance as long as the primary purpose of the visit was for the recommended preventive service.
You may get financial assistance
A number of Kansans will qualify for government assistance through an Advanced Premium Tax Credit or cost-sharing reductions. The tax credit is applied directly to your monthly payments.
You may face a penalty if you don't enroll
This federal income tax penalty would either be two and a half percent of your household income that is above the tax return threshold for your filing status, or a flat dollar amount of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child (maximum of $2,085), whichever is greater. This is a substantial increase from last year's income tax penalty.