Tonight on "Nightly News" Tom Costello and Dr. Nancy Snyderman shed light on the Affordable Care Act, which can be complicated and difficult to understand. In short, the new healthcare law means that next year everyone in the country will be required to have health insurance or pay a fine. Those with private insurance, however, aren't required to sign up, and those on Medicare or Medicaid will not have to change their coverage.
The government website Healthcare.gov is official source for information about the new law. And the Kaiser Health Calculator can help you estimate the cost of insurance. Simply enter your income level, age, and family size.
Earlier today, Dr. Nancy Snyderman answered questions about the Affordable Care Act on our Facebook page and we've posted the majority of those questions, and her answers, here. Do you have a question for Dr. Snyderman? Please submit your question here, or feel free to ask in the comments section below.
Is there RX [prescription] coverage?
Yes, prescription drugs will be covered under the Affordable Care Act.
What are details about birth control? Is it free or simply more affordable?
According to healthcare.gov: "All FDA approved contraceptive methods prescribed by a woman's doctor are covered." So our interpretation is birth control pills would be covered.
I was recently laid off and pay for health insurance out of pocket currently. Due to my lack of income can I get free or cheap insurance instead?
There are federal subsidies for those who cannot afford health insurance.
My question involves maximums on health plans. I recently discovered my group plan has a maximum of $3,500 on durable medical equipment. I thought the ACA totally abolished all maximums on health plans?
The ACA does abolish lifetime caps on medical expenditures.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman
Does it mean that I'll have to wait months for an appointment and that the quality of care significantly impacted? Will I have a choice in medical providers?
No, this should not have an impact on wait time to see a physician. The hope is that quality will improve as access to health care providers improves. There will be an increase in choices for providers.
How much would a healthy 50-year-old woman probably pay for a full coverage plan?
This is one time you have to do your homework. Go to www.healthcare.gov and input your basic information to determine what your costs would be.
Is it true you won't have to purchase the insurance if it costs more than 8% of your families income?
That is true, you are exempt if the lowest option available to you is more than 8% of your household income.
I am a retired state employee. Will my medical insurance be effected by this Act?
If you are at Medicare age it has no influence at all as you are still covered by Medicare. In fact, the Part D doughnut hole is removed and will actually save you money on prescription drugs.
You stated that if the lowest priced option under the ACA [Affordable Care Act] is more than 8% of your household income (side note: Gross or Adjusted gross?), that you are exempt from ACA. Following up on this I would ask: If you meet these exemption qualifications, what health care options will be available to you? Will the Medicaid program still be available for low income families?
Yes, Medicaid will still be available for those who would have to pay more than 8% of their household income.
As a federal government employee will I be able keep the plan that I have now?
Yes, you will get to keep your current plan.
I see that Medicare will not be affected, but what about Medicaid?
In some states Medicaid will be expanding.
First published September 25 2013, 2:58 PM