Health Care Reform

The Affordable Care Act

Health care and the way you pay for it is changing. You might have heard of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as "Obamacare." This law requires that almost everyone be enrolled in a health insurance plan or pay a penalty. If you haven't had health insurance in the past, you are now likely eligible and will need to sign up for some type of health insurance plan.

What is the Difference Between Medicaid and the Health Insurance Marketplace?

The Medicaid program, which allows individuals to receive free or low-cost health insurance coverage, will be expanding to cover all individuals with incomes below 133% of the federal poverty level (at or below ~$31,721 for a family of 4). Medicaid provides comprehensive benefits and services including hospital care, outpatient care, and preventive and wellness services.

If your income is too high for Medicaid, you can purchase private health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, also known as the Health Insurance Exchange. The Marketplace will be similar to other websites you might be familiar with, like Expedia or Travelocity. Just as these sites find the best travel option at the best price for you, the Marketplace will allow you to compare health insurance options side by side and select the plan that is best for you. Families with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty level (up to ~$95,400 for a family of 4) will be eligible for support in the form of an income tax credit to assist you with paying for your plan. Those with Medicare coverage are not eligible to use the Marketplace.

How Do I Start?

To determine which program you're eligible for, you'll need to know and provide the following for every member of your household who needs coverage:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Social Security Numbers (or document numbers for legal immigrants)
  • Employer and income information if you have a job (e.g., from pay stubs or W-2 forms-Wage and Tax Statements)
  • Policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of your household
  • Type of coverage (individual/family) you're applying for

Why Do I Need Health Insurance?

Even if you don't plan on getting sick or injured, accidents and illness happen. With insurance you will be able to get care without worrying about a huge medical bill. Your Primary Care Physician (PCP) will also be able to catch small issues before they become bigger problems - and bigger bills.

After you sign up for insurance, your next step is to find a doctor. At UI Health, we can help you choose the right doctor for you at either our main site or at one of our neighborhood community health centers.