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What Is the New Healthcare Law?

Skim through social media posts and blogs, and you might believe that there’s a new healthcare law in the books. Otherwise, why would so many people ask questions like, “When does the new healthcare law take effect?” and “What is the new healthcare reform law?”

It’s critical for healthcare professionals to know how reform laws work and when they take effect. But it’s also very easy to get overwhelmed and confused by the ever-changing landscape.

Let’s break things down.

What Is the Affordable Care Act?

The health care reform law enacted in March 2010 is the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It’s also commonly known as Obamacare and the new healthcare law.

The ACA is far from new. Chances are, you’ve heard of it or billed patients using this form of insurance within the last decade. Key benefits of the legislation include:

  • Subsidies. People with lower incomes get help with premiums.
  • Penalties. Those who don’t get health insurance are dinged for that decision.
  • Expansions. Some states lowered Medicaid eligibility rules.
  • Marketplaces. People can sign up for health insurance through programs run at the state or federal level.

The bill contains many more provisions, including some involving preexisting conditions and others involving covered services. There’s a lot to unpack, and sometimes, consumers get lost in the details.

What Is the New Healthcare Law?

When people ask questions like, “When does the new healthcare law take effect?,” they’re reading news articles about changes.

The short answer: There is no new healthcare law.

The longer answer: The older legislation is changing. For example:

  • Expansions were enacted. The Biden administration allowed for special enrollments due to the pandemic. And some states reviewed their plans to increase Medicaid enrollments.
  • Premiums decreased. Cost-sharing programs announced by the Biden administration reduced costs, allowing some people to buy plans for about $10 per month.
  • Legislation could change things. A lawsuit filed in late 2020 asks the Supreme Court to consider whether the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

In an environment like this, it pays to watch the news carefully and monitor how coverage and eligibility may change.

But it’s also wise to take the long view. Tiny shifts and ongoing legislative battles are unlikely to change your day-to-day work as a healthcare administrator. Don’t panic about the headlines.

Make Sense of the Affordable Care Act

As a boutique, full-service law firm focused exclusively on healthcare, we know the ins and outs of the ACA from the perspective of consumers, providers, and payers. We’d love to help you understand what the law means and how you should react to it. Contact us to find out more.