SHSU political science professor explains the Affordable Care Act
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 23:10
Open enrollment for health insurance plans that are available on state exchanges began accepting people on Oct. 1 as a key part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Americans now have the ability to shop for a health plan if they choose to change from their current one or gain for the first-time access to a medical health care plan.
As the beginning of the government’s fiscal year began, Americans can go to healthcare.gov to browse different available health plans, or exchanges, including health and dental coverage. The plans provide options for qualified low-income based plans through Medicare as well as the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) coverage plans. In the state of Texas, coverage plans are available through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and Cigna among others, which are all available to view at healthcare.gov.
Sam Houston State University political science assistant professor Heather Evans, Ph.D., said Americans without insurance are afraid to go to a doctor for regular checkups due to the price.
“The ACA will help cover many that are currently uninsured, which will lead to those Americans actually seeing their doctors and will increase their quality of life,” Evans said.
The ACA created state-based and federal exchanges for people who are uninsured. Or people can get insurance through individual insurers.
Families with certain income levels will receive discounts on health premiums. The online application process factors in a family’s income to determine eligibility.
Individual health insurance plans in Walker County for single persons age 49 or younger, which provide coverage for 60 percent of the average estimated yearly cost of medical insurance, currently start at $133 per month in premiums.
“The first big thing [Americans] should know is that they have to have health insurance,” Evans said “Most students, however, can remain on their parents' plans until they are 26 even if they are married.”
Unless exempt, Americans will be required by law to have health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014. Individuals who receive insurance from their jobs or are a part of group plans would be exempt from enrolling in the plans.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is a leader in the fight against the implementation of the policy. He took to the Senate floor to filibuster an amendment to the funding bill that would fund the law.
Republicans have voted en-bloc more than 43 times to defund or overturn the law.
Some of their reasons for criticizing the law include the penalty for individuals and businesses who choose not to have insurance, as well as the forced insurance enrollment for businesses with 50 or more employees.
Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner and Tea Party Republicans hava adamantly refused to compromise on passing a “clean” Continuing Resolution that would fund the government entirely, including the ACA.