How much will the Affordable Care Act really help?

I’ve written before about how the Korean healthcare system is way superior to that of the United States, as the latter exists now (with the Affordable Care Act not fully implemented). It’s clear to me that some kind of government-sponsored health care system, like you find in most developed countries, would be a good thing. But a lot of people are unhappy about the details of how the Affordable Care Act was written, for example the lack of a public option. So how much will the Affordable Care Act really help?

Luckily, Wikipedia’s article on the legislation has an extremely detailed breakdown of what it does. I recommend skipping to the section on provisions that go into place on January 1st, 2014 because that’s where all the important stuff is.

Notably, if you’re income is 400% or less of the federal poverty line, the ACA guarantees your premiums won’t be above a certain limit. That limit is a few percent of your income if you’re towards the bottom end of the income distribution, or up to 9.5% at the top of the range. If the insurance you find is too expensive, it will be subsidized, and you can also take part in a “health insurance exchange.” And you can’t be denied care for having a pre-existing condition, anyway.

That’s how it works in theory, anyway. As written, it looks like a great deal, but it’s possible there’s a hidden catch that I don’t know about. Anyone who knows more about this than me want to fill in more information?

  • Goldstein Squad Member

    You haven’t read it, and neither have the Wikipedia editors.

    You are a God Damn liar.

    • tubi

      citation needed

  • decathelite

    The company where I work just benefited greatly with one of the provisions that went into effect Jan 1, 2011: our healthcare provider jacked up their rates 24% a couple years ago without justifying it. Then, when they were required to achieve an 80% medical loss ratio, we found out they had used it to pad their administrative costs. We all received a check back a few weeks ago for part of the premiums that should have been used for medical care.

    • Chris Hallquist

      That sounds interesting, but can you elaborate? I don’t exactly follow the connection to the Affordable Care Act.

      • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

        The ACA requires an 80% medical loss ratio, which means that 80% of premiums needs to be spent on actual medicare care, not overhead.

        • Chris Hallquist

          Aha! Okay, I didn’t know that term.

      • http://polyskeptic.com Wes

        *medical care

  • smrnda

    I’m waiting and seeing – for me (I have a lot of pre-existing conditions) it has some benefits, but I wonder if it’s really capable of saving me from going totally bankrupt over medical expenses. I know it caps monthly premiums, but what about setting limits on deductibles? If a deductible is sufficiently high, I might be unable to get any health care since I’d have to meet the deductible beforehand, and I normally see 3 specialists a month.

    Does anybody know if expenses other than premiums are regulated, and if so, how much?

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