Probably you think of Obamacare as some sort of government-run health care, or at least government mandated, and you know very little about how it will actually work, how it will be implemented, and most importantly, how it will affect you.
If you’re struggling financially, you may believe that “free” health care is headed your way. If you have robust health insurance through your employer, you may feel smugly confident that Obamacare won’t impact you. If you’re a liberal, you may believe Obamacare will usher in a new era of wellbeing such as this nation has never seen, and if you’re a conservative you believe Obamacare will rob from your dwindling supply of freedom. These series of articles is intended to help you understand what Obamacare really is, and how it will impact you.
Let’s begin – first of all Obamacare is not government-provided health insurance. Obamacare is 2,000 plus pages of legislation (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) that directs what health insurance must look like in this country. It mandates benefits health insurance companies must offer, and to a certain extent the terms of this insurance. Obamacare was an easy sell to people who have faith in government, because like all insurance sales pitches, it’s the benefits you are sold on, not the fine print and the costs.
Many people think that for all the faults of the Social Security and Medicare programs, the government has done a fairly decent job managing them, so that perhaps it can manage health care. However, no one should be surprised by the botched rollout of Obamacare - insurance is far more complicated than simply redistributing payroll taxes. While the benefits Obamacare promise sound wonderful, and we’ll be learning what they are, the costs and the fine print, as with all types of insurance, is what makes most of us loathe insurance.
President Obama may rue the day he became America’s de facto health insurance commissioner.
So what exactly is the promise of Obamacare? According to Obamacarefacts.com, 1.) People with pre-existing conditions (like AIDS) will pay the same premium as people in good health; 2.) There will no lifetime limits on your health insurance, and you can’t be dropped when you’re sick; 3.) If you’re uninsured or underinsured you may be able to get insurance you can’t afford now; 4.) You can keep your child on your insurance policy until he is age 26, even if not financially dependent upon you; 5.) You can one-stop shop for insurance on a government-run exchange; 6.) Your insurance must pay for a long list of preventative services (like Pap smear) at no cost to you.
Sound pretty good? Next time, we’ll start digging into the fine print, and the costs.
Editor’s Note: This is the first of a weekly six-part series digging into the Affordable Care Act. Doolittle is a local writer, a former stockbroker and insurance salesman, and has a degree in business administration. He said that while this series does include some opinion – which may or may not be the opinion of the Tribune – he can back it all up with facts and hopes to be able to help people understand a very complicated Act and what it means to them.