With recent leadership changes in the U.S. government, come changes to U.S. Healthcare. During his campaign President Donald Trump promised to repeal or amend the Affordable Care Act, known informally as “Obamacare”. As promised, the American Health Care Act has been drafted as a replacement plan for Obamacare. For many American’s, there is confusion surrounding the two programs and how these changes will affect insurance coverage. One of the biggest differences is that unlike Obamacare, through the new program, Americans will no longer be required to purchase insurance coverage and employers will no longer be required to insure their employees. Below is an outline of a few similarities and differences of the key aspects of the two programs. Key Differences Between the Affordable Care Act and the American Health Care Act:
- Health Insurance Penalty: Under Obamacare, individuals without insurance were assessed fines. The American Health Care Act has eliminated these fines, however, insurance companies will have the right to charge a 30% penalty to any individuals with a lapse in coverage of 63 days or more.
- Health Savings Accounts: Previously, Obamacare imposed limits on the amount of money that could be contributed and saved in a health savings account (HSA). The new program will double the amount of money that Americans can contribute to a health savings account.
- Insurance Companies: It is no secret that insurance premiums vary based on many factors, such as health and age of the insured. Through Obamacare, there was a limit set so older customers could not be charged more than three times the price of younger customers. The American Health Care Act will give insurance companies more freedom to create their own prices, which could potentially result in higher premiums for certain groups of individual, such as the elderly.
- Women’s Healthcare: Under the new program, funding will be cut to Planned Parenthood, an organization which receives funding to provide women with health care such as cancer screenings, contraception, and abortions.
- Tax Credit: Through the American Health Care Act, there will be less tax credits available for both younger and wealthy Americans. Currently through Obamacare, the government is required to pay tax credits to fund premiums, co-payments and deductibles. Although tax credit will still be available under the new plan, these credits will now be refundable and based on an individual’s age and income and wealthy individuals in the country will not qualify for tax credits.
- Medicaid: The American Health Care Act is allowing the expanded Medicaid coverage that was implemented under Obamacare to continue until 2020. Through Obamacare, 30 states expanded Medicaid coverage, raising the eligibility requirements to 138 percent of the poverty level.