The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, is a federal law signed by President Barack Obama in 2010 that has impacted healthcare in the United States, including Kansas. Its purpose is to increase access to affordable health insurance for previously uninsured or underinsured Americans.
The ACA expanded the Medicaid program, which offers health insurance to low-income individuals and families, and established healthcare marketplaces where individuals and small businesses in Kansas can buy health insurance.
The ACA also provides subsidies to help lower-income individuals and families afford health insurance, prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, and introduced the individual mandate that requires most Americans in Kansas to have health insurance or face a penalty.
In this article we will cover the impact of the Affordable Care Act, getting financial assistance through the ACA, Affordable Care Act statistics, the Marketplace at Healthcare.gov, and how using a certified health insurance navigator can help you free of cost.
Affordable Care Act Impact
The impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its effects on an individual’s healthcare will vary depending on their specific situation. However, certain individuals may have experienced advantages from the ACA in the following ways:
- Increased access to health insurance: For those who were previously uninsured or had limited access to health insurance, the ACA may have provided the opportunity to obtain coverage.
- Protection for pre-existing conditions: Those with pre-existing health conditions are protected under the ACA, as insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage based on these conditions.
- Financial aid: The ACA provides subsidies to lower-income individuals and families to assist them in affording health insurance.
- Consumer safeguards: The ACA has implemented several consumer protections, such as requiring insurance companies to cover preventive care services at no cost to the patient and limiting out-of-pocket expenses.
Financial Assistance Through ACA
More than 10 million individuals receive financial assistance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to make healthcare affordable, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. These subsidies are available to those who meet specific income requirements and purchase insurance through the ACA’s healthcare marketplaces.
Subsidies are calculated based on income and aim to decrease the cost of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses for medical services. The amount of the subsidy an individual or family receives depends on their income, the cost of insurance in their area, and the size of their family.
In addition to subsidies, the ACA also broadened the Medicaid program, providing healthcare coverage for low-income families and individuals. As a result of the ACA, as of 2021, over 75 million people were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
KanCare is the Medicaid program in Kansas, providing healthcare coverage to low-income individuals and families who meet certain eligibility requirements. The program is managed through a partnership between the state government and private health insurance companies.
Affordable Care Act Statistics
Here are a few statistics about the Affordable Care Act (ACA):
- More than 20 million people gained health coverage as a result of the ACA as of 2021.
- The uninsured rate fell from 16.0% in 2010 to 8.9% in 2021 thanks to the ACA’s contributions.
- The ACA established healthcare marketplaces or exchanges where more than 11 million people were enrolled in coverage as of 2021.
- More than 75 million people were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as of 2021 thanks to the ACA’s expansion of the Medicaid program.
- On average, about 360,000 Kansas are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP programs each month.
- The ACA introduced subsidies based on income to help more than 10 million people afford health insurance, reducing the cost of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.
ACA and Healthcare.gov
Healthcare.gov is the official health insurance marketplace for people living in states that do not have their own state-based ACA marketplace. Kansas does not have their own state-based ACA marketplace. Healthcare.gov provides a platform where individuals and families can easily compare and enroll in health insurance plans.
In addition, the website also offers detailed information about financial assistance available to help with the cost of premiums, such as subsidies that are based on income.
The ACA also introduced several other important changes to the healthcare system, including expanding Medicaid coverage to more low-income individuals, requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26, ensuring that more Americans have access to affordable healthcare.
Using a Health Insurance Navigator
A health insurance navigator is a certified and trained individual or organization that provides free assistance to people seeking health insurance coverage. They offer impartial information about health insurance options, including those available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace or through employer-sponsored coverage. Navigators can also help individuals understand if they are eligible for financial assistance to help with premiums, and guide them through the enrollment process.
In addition to enrollment assistance, navigators can provide education on how to use health insurance once enrolled. They cannot recommend specific plans or sell insurance, and they do not receive commissions for enrolling people in coverage.
Cover Kansas is the statewide network of certified health navigators. You can use this website to find a navigator near you or simply call us at 866-826-8375.
A Cover Kansas navigator is a trained and certified individual or organization that provides free assistance to people who are looking for health insurance coverage in the state of Kansas. They are similar to healthcare navigators in other states, but specifically assist Kansas residents in understanding their options for health insurance, including plans available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace or through Kansas’s own state-based marketplace. Cover Kansas navigators can also provide information about financial assistance that may be available to help with the cost of premiums.