Obamacare Facts: 9 ACA Facts That You Don't Know

Here's How These 9 Facts Apply to You

Stick to the facts about the ACA, not the rumors. Photo: Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Obamacare is the popular, and frequently misunderstood, name for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Here's how the Act has already affected you in ways no one has told you. Use these facts to get all the benefits you can from this comprehensive and complicated piece of legislation. (If you need more background first, see What Is Obamacare?)

1. The real goal of the ACA is to lower the cost of Medicare and Medicaid. 

The Federal government spends $933.7 billion on healthcare alone. That's more than any other budget item, according to the FY 2015 budget. This spending includes Medicare benefits ($529 billion), Medicaid benefits ($331 billion), and the Department of Health and Human Services, which manages the programs ($73.7 billion). It's more than Social Security ($896 billion) or Defense ($756 billion). 

The problem will only get worse. By 2024, spending for Medicare and Medicaid benefits alone programs were projected to nearly double to more than $1.4 trillion. That leaves little left for Social Security, Defense, paying the interest on the national debt, or the rest of the U.S. government. If there's one thing politicians don't like, it's having their hands tied when it comes to spending. For more, see Why Reform Healthcare?

2. It is already changing how healthcare itself is being delivered

The ACA has already mandated that hospitals, doctors, and pharmacists must work together in ways they never did before.

 First, all medical records must be recorded electronically instead of on paper. That allows all your doctors to share their diagnoses and treatments. Second, hospitals will be paid based on how well you get, instead of how many tests and procedures you get.

Third, healthcare providers are forming Accountable Care Organizations, which coordinate your care between your doctor and your specialists.

 You probably thought this was already happening. It's not. In fact, miscommunication between doctors was the biggest cause of unanticipated deaths among patients in 2010. Thanks to the ACA, the healthcare industry recognizes that integrated care is the way of the future, and they are already making the shift to integrated care.

3. It's already improved healthcare and your insurance plans.

These improvements include: 

  • All plans must provide ten essential health benefits.
  • Plans can not longer exclude those with pre-existing conditions.
  • Companies can no longer drop those who get sick.
  • Parents can add their children up to age 26 on their plans.
  • Lifetime limits are eliminated.
  • Annual limits are eliminated.  

For more benefits, see When Does Obamacare Start?

4. The ACA benefits the middle class more than the poor. 

Obamacare subsidies for those who sign up on the health insurance exchanges will cost the Federal Government $1.039 trillion between 2015 and 2024. That’s 30 percent more than the $792 billion being spent on expanded Medicaid and CHIP. These subsidies go to families that earn roughly between $47,000 and $94,000 a year. That's 400 percent of the Federal poverty level. The median family income in the United States for a family of four was $79,698 -- smack dab in the middle.

 For more, see How Much Will Obamacare Cost Me?

5. Sixty percent of those who are eligible for Obamacare subsidies don't even know it.  

Seventeen million people qualified for subsidies because they did not have insurance from their employer, made too much money for Medicaid, and are legal residents of the United States. However, only 6.6 million did sign up. Don't be one of the 10.4 million people who didn’t. Find out How to Get Obamacare

6. It adds benefits to those on Medicare.

If you have Medicare, the "donut hole" gap in coverage is being subsidized. For more, see How Will Obamacare Affect Me?

7. It doesn't provide health insurance to illegal immigrants.

However, it does expand community health clinics to serve them. Why? So they will use emergency rooms less. That will lower the cost of healthcare.

That will be reversed if Trump repeals and replaces Obamacare.

8. You must get health insurance for at least nine months each year or be subject to a tax.

But many people can get exemptions. Find out if you are one of them.

9. The ACA has ten sections in all. Most do more than provide insurance.

Did you know the ACA has already implemented the following programs? It created the National Prevention Council that coordinates all Federal health efforts to promote active, drug-free lifestyles. It funds scholarships and loans to double the number of health care providers in five years. It cuts down on fraudulent doctor/supplier relationships. It requires background checks of all nursing home staff, to prevent abuse of seniors. For more, see Obamacare Bill

More on Obamacare

For more little-known Obamacare facts, see my book The Ultimate Obamacare Handbook (2015 - 2016).