What to Know About the Affordable Care Act if You Don't Have Insurance
About one million people in Michigan are expected to buy health insurance under this new law. If you're among the uninsured residents in the state, here's what you should know.
The Affordable Care Act is most important to the roughly 15 percent of Americans who are uninsured. The new health care reform law, also called Obamacare, includes a Health Insurance Marketplace, where anyone can go to shop for an affordable health care plan.
Those who make more than the federal poverty line, but less than four times the poverty line ($94,200 for a family of four), can buy subsidized insurance on the marketplace. Those making less than 133 percent of the poverty line, and living in a state that has accepted the Medicaid expansion, which Michigan has, can get Medicaid.
The health care law is intended to help make affordable health insurance available to all Americans. A key element of the law is a requirement that all Americans get health insurance, which kicks in on Jan.1, 2014. This is called the individual mandate.
Under federal law, hospitals are required to treat everyone who comes in for emergency care, regardless of their ability to pay. This has meant that the cost of providing health care to someone without insurance was passed on to everyone else who had paid plans. As of 2014, everyone without insurance will be responsible for their health care costs and will have to pay a penalty (with some exceptions for religious groups or people with very limited income).
In Michigan, about a million people are expected to be buying insurance. To help with these costs, subsidies have been made available for people with limited incomes. The Medicaid program has also been expanded to provide for more low-income Michigan residents.
AARP, American Public Health Association, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Consumer Reports, FAIR Health, Inc., HealthCare.gov, Internal Revenue Service, Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid.gov, Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Every effort was made to provide clear, accurate information about health care reform. We verified any information we had with first-tier sources – those who are involved in this change and its effect on our health care system. We also relied on well-respected national nonprofits, some who've done a masterful job of providing clear information to consumers. Our primary source of information was the Affordable Care Act's official website, HealthCare.gov. If you need additional information about how health care reform affects you, that would be your best place to start.