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Health Care Law and You

You may have heard about the new Health Care Law, most commonly known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Patient Protection Act (PPA), and all the changes that are coming, but what does it mean for you? There are many new changes and we want to help keep you informed. The Health Care Law may change the way you buy your health coverage, what health care benefits you receive, and how much you pay for your health plan.

Here’s a look at some of the most important changes from health care reform that began January 1, 2014:

  • Everyone is required to have health coverage. If you do not get coverage through your employer, you will need to purchase a plan on your own. Those who do not have coverage in 2014 may be charged a penalty.1 You have two options when looking for a plan: shop and enroll directly with Independence Blue Cross or use the Health Insurance Marketplace. On December 12, 2012, the state of Pennsylvania defaulted to a federally-facilitated health insurance exchange.
    • You can use our guided shopping experience to research available health insurance plans, use interactive tools to determine which plans are right for you, and find out if you may qualify for subsidies. You can enroll online, over the phone, or in person.
    • In order to accommodate everyone that will need health insurance, the government created the Health Insurance Marketplace — a new way for individuals to see, compare, and shop for health insurance. You can enroll online or over the phone.
  • There are four benefit levels of coverage. To make it easier for you to compare plans, the federal government created four levels of coverage: platinum, gold, silver, and bronze. Platinum health plans will cost the most, but your costs each time you receive covered services will likely be lower. Bronze health plans will cost the least each month, but will likely have higher costs each time you receive covered services.
  • All plans include Essential Health Benefits. Ten core Essential Health Benefits will be included in all health plans.
  • Financial help is available. The government is committed to helping as many people as possible get health insurance. They will be providing tax credits and subsidies, to help people purchase their own insurance. Depending on how much money you make and how many people are in your family, you may qualify for tax credits or subsidies to help you pay for insurance.
  • You can’t be denied coverage. With health care reform, health insurance coverage can no longer be denied based on pre-existing conditions, and the cost of insurance will no longer be affected by your health status or history.

1 Some people may be exempt from this penalty due to financial hardship, religious beliefs, or other conditions. Learn more at healthcare.gov.