A Short Intro to Health Care Reform:

Health Care reform is changing the way health insurance works. Here are major changes coming to the health care system that you should know about:

In 2014, you must have health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty.

  • Starting in 2014, every* American or legal resident will have to get health insurance coverage. If you don't, you will pay a tax penalty at the end of the year. How much? In 2014, you could pay $95 per uninsured person in your family up to $285 for the family. But by 2016, you might end up paying around $700 per uninsured person.

    * Except for those with religious reasons, exemptions or those who can't find affordable health insurance.

You will be able to get insurance, even if you've been turned down before.

  • You are guaranteed insurance coverage, even if you have a serious or long-term condition, illness or injury. It doesn't matter if you've applied before or have been turned down for coverage.

You may qualify for a break on your insurance premiums.

  • Those who make less than four times the Federal Poverty Level may qualify for a break on their insurance premiums. Depending on your income and household size, you could pay as little as $0 each month.

Many health insurance plans will include broader benefits.

  • Check-ups, blood tests and many common treatments will be covered by your insurance at $0 when you go to an in-network provider. In other words, when you go to the doctor, you won't pay for these services out-of-pocket if you go to a doctor in your network.

Other changes coming to the health care system:

  • 2014 – No more annual limits or lifetime limits on essential benefits

    • Insurance plans cannot put annual limits or lifetime limits on the amount of claims they pay for essential benefits.

  • 2014 - Health Insurance Reforms

    • The new rating factors in the individual and small group market are only based on age, where you live and smoking status.
  • 2014 - Acceptable Coverage Required

    • If you do not have health insurance coverage, you will be charged a penalty of at least $95 in 2014, $325 in 2015 and $695 in 2016.
  • 2014 - Premium Tax Credits

    • If you make less than 400% of the federal poverty level, you may get a tax credit off the monthly amount you pay for health insurance.

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