Nurse Alice Benjamin talks Affordable Care Act: Part 2

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America’s favorite nurse, Alice Benjamin, is a nationally board certified Cardiac Clinical Nurse Specialist.  Check out part two of Benjamin’s Q&A with rollingout.com regarding ObamaCare and what is actually benefits African-Americans.

Will those with pre-existing conditions be able to apply for insurance?
Absolutely! There are several new patient protections. One of the most significant protections is that insurance companies will no longer be able to deny anyone health coverage because of a pre-existing condition. This is a monumental piece of the law because African Americans have higher incidences of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancers. Now, thanks to ObamaCare, our health needs will no longer be a barrier from getting the coverage needed.


How does the AHCA affect Medicare and Medicaid?
ObamaCare strengthens Medicare and expands Medicaid services. The Health Care law makes Medicare stronger by adding new benefits, fighting fraud, cutting costs and improving care. By doing this, we will be able to allow the federal health care dollar to go farther and longer while making sure people get quality health care. Medicaid services have also been expanded in more than half of the states, which allows for more people meeting certain low-income requirements to get access to health insurance. Historically those with lower income have typically been those with higher rates of chronic illnesses. This is important because now they will have access to affordable health care and are more likely to get preventive services and no longer forego care because of costs. This will result in more screening, disease identification and treatment earlier on and will free up the abuse of emergency rooms being used as the primary doctors for those previously uninsured.

What happens if individuals cannot afford health insurance? 
The federal government is aware that despite our best efforts to get everyone access to affordable health insurance, not all will be able to do so. If health insurance costs are more than 8 percent, of your taxable income you will be exempt from the insurance mandate requirement and any associated tax penalties. Others who are exempt from the mandate and penalties include those with certain financial hardships, religious objections, American Indians, undocumented immigrants, and those incarcerated.
For most Americans who are able to afford health insurance and who elect not purchase insurance – there will be a tax penalty of in 2014 of $95 per adult ($47.50 per child up to $285 per family) or 1 percent of your taxable income, whichever is greater. In 2015, the penalty will be $325 per adult ($162.50 per child up to $975 per family) or 2 percent of your income. In 2016, the penalty will be $695 per adult ($347.50 per child up to $2085 per family) or up to 2.5 percent of you income. You must have health insurance for at least 9 months out of the year to avoid being penalized.


For more info on Nurse Alice Benjamin, check her out on Twitter @AskNurseAlice

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