Medical care is expensive, and most people cannot afford to independently pay for doctor and hospital services they need. Many Americans rely on health insurance sponsored by employers or schools, subsidized programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, or individual policies to help control those costs. In the past, however, people with pre-existing disabilities and chronic health conditions were turned away from commercial insurance coverage.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes called “Obamacare,” was enacted in 2010 to increase the quality and affordability of medical care and to extend insurance coverage to more Americans. Under Obamacare, all insurance policies are required to cover people who have pre-existing conditions and were unable to get insurance previously, and to provide maternity benefits and well-child care for their insureds. The law also permits young people to continue to be covered under their parents’ insurance until the age of 26, a great benefit to young adults.
While individual health coverage is no longer required or penalized after 2019, it is still a smart decision to have health insurance and it may be more affordable than you think. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, broadens eligibility for health coverage through the Healthcare.gov “Marketplace,” provides additional savings for many plans, and may allow for increased tax credits for most people.