Happy New Year?

What do you prefer: Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act? According to CNN, more Americans oppose Obamacare (46%) over the Affordable Care Act (37%). Why is this interesting? Well, it is because they’re the same exact thing! As 2014 approaches, an important aspect of the implementation of important portions of the Affordable Care Act is that many Americans do not fully understand what the Act entails.

The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to provide all Americans with access to affordable health insurance. This includes tax credits to middle and low-income families, while additionally expanding Medicaid to further include lower-income Americans. Other key features of the 2014 consumer protections include the prohibition of insurance discrimination based on gender or pre-existing conditions, and the elimination of an individual’s annual dollar limit in terms of coverage.

With 2014 right around the corner, here are six key dates, according to CBS, to look for in the coming year. To start, January 1st introduces the start of the ACA’s private coverage, with consumers to find out whether or not they are enrolled in the plans that they signed up for. Additionally, the beginning of January will split the country, with twenty-five states and the District of Columbia to expand Medicaid, while the other 25 states will not. The second date is March 31st, marking the end of open enrollment, which will also help gauge the law’s success. Third, is October 2014, bringing an end to plans that are not compliant with the Affordable Care Act. Next are the November 4th midterm elections, which have the potential to provide insight into the public’s opinion of the law. Shortly thereafter, on November 15th, open enrollment begins for 2015, in hopes of allowing insurers the time needed to evaluate the marketplace and set 2015 premiums. Lastly, and although not in 2014, is the employer mandate of 2015, which will require business to provide specific health-care coverage. Although this mandate was supposed to come take effect in 2014, it has been delayed a year by the Obama administration.

There is a lot in store for 2014, mark your calendars!

Author: Julie Bartl, Vice President of JKJ Benefits, Inc.

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