Of all the talking points in American politics at the moment–and there are many of them–there’s perhaps no subject as hot-button as health care. No matter what side of the aisle you lean toward, you probably agree that something needs to change. But what, exactly?
Republicans, who now control both chambers of Congress, have been touting “repeal and replace” for some time. We’re only just now seeing the “replace” part of that call-to-action, and naturally, it’s causing quite a frenzy. Here’s are a few ways the new health care plan, currently titled the American Health Care Act, could affect your life.
No Penalties If You Aren’t Enrolled, Kind Of
One of the most controversial parts of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, required United States citizens to enroll in a health insurance plan or face penalties come tax season. The new bill scraps this, letting you go penalty-free if you don’t have insurance, with a catch: once you sign up for insurance, you’ll pay higher rates than you normally would.
Potentially Higher Rates for Older People
The American Health Care Act loosens up regulations on insurers so that they can charge people in their 50s and 60s. Under Obamacare, health care companies could charge older people only three times as much as they charged younger customers. The new bill changes that so health insurers can charge up to five times as much, which could lead to massive spikes in insurance premiums for older people.
Less Funding for Medicaid
Bad news if you rely on Medicaid for your health insurance plan. While funding for the program will continue as-is for the next few years, beginning 2020, the federal government will stop providing as much money, shifting the burden instead to individual states. This will likely make it harder for you to qualify for Medicaid.
Breaks for the Young, Healthy, and Wealthy
Good news if you’re young, rich, and in good health — or all of the above. With insurance companies no longer required to offer big insurance packages to younger customers, along with rising prices for older customers, insurance rates for younger people would probably drop under the new health care law. Further, the new plan would free up some tax burdens on the rich, which were introduced to help fund the ACA.
Of course, this isn’t all there is to the bill, and it’s worth reading in full if you think that it might change the way you receive your health insurance. Of course, as the bill is still making its way through Congress, it’s subject to change, but it’s always best to be prepared.
[Image via Getty]