The short answer is that everyone is eligible for coverage under Obamacare. Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) passed, requiring all citizens to carry health insurance policies, the government has provided a marketplace by which any and every American citizen can sign up to receive coverage (although the system and benefits may differ based on your state of residence). Absolutely everyone is eligible! Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll qualify to receive assistance to pay for your health insurance policy. Because the system is designed to ensure that low-income and underserved individuals, families, and groups are given the same access to medical care as those in higher income brackets, only select candidates will receive financial assistance (in the way of low or no premiums for coverage, tax benefits, and so on). So the real question is: who can receive such benefits under Obamacare?
Let’s start with the reasons you might not be eligible for assistance to pay for health insurance under Obamacare. If you have access to private insurance options, say through your place of employment, you can still sign up for coverage under Obamacare, but lower than normal premiums, tax breaks, and other financial assistance options might not be available to you. And if your annual income is 400% or more above the poverty level, the same applies.
The reason for this is that Obamacare was designed to provide “minimum essential coverage,” namely to the millions of uninsured Americans unable to afford the high cost of private health insurance coverage. It wasn’t designed to replace private insurance options, but rather to supplement them with a more affordable option for certain segments of the population. Of particular concern were children, the elderly, expectant mothers, persons with disabilities, and low-income individuals and families. These groups are given the greatest consideration under Obamacare because they are the ones that tend to need the most help when it comes to paying for health insurance and medical services.
Of course, there are programs in place under Obamacare specifically designed to serve such demographics. Children, for example, may receive coverage through CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). Seniors are eligible for Medicare coverage. And Medicaid covers the gaps for low-income individuals and families. However, if you think you qualify for any type of assistance under Obamacare, you’ll to have to apply for coverage during the open enrollment period (unless you qualify to sign up outside of this period) to see what benefits you are eligible to receive.
Depending on your particular situation, you may find that it’s actually more affordable and/or beneficial to sign up for the private insurance coverage provided through your place of employment. But you might not know unless you go through the enrollment process and determine what kinds of benefits are available to you. Despite the fact that every U.S. citizen is eligible to sign up for health insurance coverage under Obamacare, you may not necessarily qualify for its cost assistance benefits. So look into all of your options before you select the coverage that is best suited to your situation. It may or may not end up being Obamacare.
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