As I write this, we are just two months away from October 1st, which is the day people can begin to shop for affordable health insurance through online health insurance exchanges implemented by ObamaCare. The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (the official title for ObamaCare) was signed into law March 23, 2010. The bill mandates that all Americans have health insurance by 2014. On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that ObamaCare is a tax, not a mandate. This means you can choose to not buy health insurance, but if you don’t buy it you must pay a tax equal to 1% of your income in 2014 and 2.5% in 2016.

The law also requires American employers with over 50 full-time employees to provide them with health insurance that meets the standards of ObamaCare or pay a penalty. Recently the President announced a delay of the employer mandate until January 2015. While this employer required insurance mandate has caused the most controversy regarding the new law, unless you make over $200,000 as an individual ($250,000 as a family) or are a large business, you are exempt from almost every tax that ObamaCare levies.

ObamaCare reforms the way we buy health insurance requiring that all Americans purchase a private health care plan or pay a tax. Those who cannot afford health insurance will either qualify for Medicare/Medicaid or get assistance in the form of tax credits, tax breaks or assistance with up-front costs on the insurance exchanges. The exchanges are state or federally run online market places where customers can shop for affordable insurance. In Colorado our exchange is called “Connect for Health Colorado.” The exchanges will open October 1st with coverage beginning January 1, 2014.

Although the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) was signed into law in 2010, the health care reforms it enacts roll out year by year until 2022. Some important changes have already been implemented such as preventing insurance companies from dropping your coverage if you get sick and easing discrimination against anyone with a pre-existing condition. It also provides better preventative and wellness services and raises the standards of the quality of basic coverage. The Act contains over a thousand pages of reforms to the insurance and health care industries. We are trying to get a clearer picture of how this new law will affect all of us and we will update you as we go through this process. If you have any questions, give us a call and we will try and answer them for you.

The views expressed herein are those of the author alone.

Linda Eden is a Registered Principal offering securities through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Legacy Wealth Management, LLC and Cambridge are not affiliated. Cambridge does not offer tax advice.

Copyright ©2013 Linda Eden. All Rights reserved. Commercial copying, duplication or reproduction is prohibited.