The ACA has good news for young people and rural residents

health-care-reformblogTwo new reports released this week promise relief from high premiums and the anxiety that comes from being uninsured once all provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect January 1, 2014.

The Center For Rural Affairs points out that rural Nebraskans will especially benefit from the premium tax credits and cost sharing subsidies that will be available in the new health insurance marketplace. Beginning October 1, anyone between ages 19 and 64, who does not have access to affordable, employer-sponsored insurance, can purchase insurance in the marketplace. Those with incomes between 100-400 percent of the federal poverty level (between about $11,000 and $45,000 for an individual and between about $23,000 and $94,000 for a family of four for 2013) can get tax credits, and may be eligible for cost-sharing subsidies, which will reduce out-of-pocket costs.

As CFRA notes, rural residents are often responsible for more of their medical costs, are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes, and are more likely to go without preventive care. The new marketplace with its tax credits and cost sharing subsidies will go a long way towards providing those living in rural Nebraska with the opportunity to access the quality, affordable health care they deserve.

In addition, young adults will see benefits from the new marketplace as well. A new report from the Commonwealth Fund tracks health insurance coverage among young adults between 19 and 26. Many young adults under the age of 26 have already benefitted from the ACA’s provision that allows them to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. In fact, an estimated 7.8 million young adults who would not have otherwise been eligible to stay on their parents’ insurance were able to do so, thanks to the ACA.

Nationwide, of the young adults who were uninsured for a period of time in 2013, 82 percent would have been eligible for the tax credits through the new marketplace. As noted by the study linked above, most young adults who are uninsured cite cost as the primary reason. The marketplace reforms, tax credits, and cost sharing subsidies will make it possible for more young adults to find the coverage they need.

Remember, open enrollment is just around the corner – beginning October 1, 2013, and running through March 31, 2014. And if a person misses the open enrollment period, he or she will have to wait until the next open enrollment period begins in November 2014 to get health insurance (unless there has been a “qualifying event,” like the loss of a job that causes someone to lose their health insurance). Don’t miss out!

For more information about the new health insurance marketplace check out HealthCare.gov.

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