Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ACA in the HR world, is legislation passed in 2010 by the U.S. Federal Government to resolve health insurance policies - with the intention of providing access to more affordable insurance plans for qualified individuals. Simply put, the act was developed to support lower-income households with healthcare benefits.
ACA made it mandatory for private and public health insurance providers to incorporate premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for policyholders to allow them to access routine checkups, immunizations, and various health screenings at no cost.
Furthermore, ACA-compliant health insurance plans included a specific “health benefit checklist” for families to obtain mental health services, family planning, maternity and pediatric care, and emergency services. This made it compulsory for Medicaid coverage to comply with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act in order to make basic health care more accessible and affordable for the workforce.
Key Features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The prime features of ACA were designed to accomplish the following:
1. Easy Access to Health Insurance
Employers are provided with specific tax credits for subsidized health insurance plans for their employees. It was a pathway for small business owners and low-income individuals to acquire basic health insurance plans.
The government made it obligatory for citizens to sign up for health care coverage through various platforms, or otherwise be charged with tax penalties.
2. Consumer Insurance Protection
The Affordable Care Act outlawed lifetime financial caps on insurance policies for the better. This indicated that the yearly caps were reassessed by the body to facilitate insurance plans that had unjustified exclusions such as overruling coverages for children with complex health conditions and so on.
3. Policy Holders Prevention and Wellness
The collaboration between The Prevention and Public Health Fund and ACA suggested incorporating state-wide programs to educate policyholders about disease screenings, vaccinations, immunizations, health promotions, and raising awareness on routine body check-ups to monitor their overall health.
4. Improve Healthcare Systems
The ACA also coordinated with the healthcare industry to improve the quality of healthcare systems across the nation. It reviewed the guidelines to mitigate medical errors, led to the generation of payment gateways to boost efficiency, and helped streamline a lot of other things to ensure that the overall quality of healthcare improved across the board.
Advantages of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Expand accessibility of healthcare plans for low-income households
Prohibit policy providers to charge unjustified rates to policyholders
Eliminated discriminatory practices by the insurance industry against those with pre-existing health issues
Made the inclusion of immunizations, regular check-ups, health screenings, etc. mandatory in basic healthcare plans
Disadvantages of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Premium insurance plans are increasing, making it difficult for the low-income workforce to afford them
Tax on medical equipment and big pharma sales are not in sync with the mission of the ACA