Cutler, Population Health and Health Policy
On January 1, 2014 major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) take effect - including requirements that everyone has health insurance coverage and the availability of new subsidies and insurance reforms that are designed to make that coverage affordable.
Most Americans will continue to get their health insurance through their workplaces. Individuals and small businesses (those with fewer than fifty employees)1 will be able to shop for coverage through a new, online Marketplace, also called an Exchange. The Marketplace will provide one-stop shopping for health insurance with simplified information available to help compare the costs and benefits of available plans and, for individuals, assistance in qualifying for premium tax credits that will discount the cost of coverage for those eligible. Navigators and others will be trained and in place to help consumers and small businesses understand their choices. Beginning October 1, 2013 the Marketplaces will open so consumers can begin to shop for coverage. Open enrollment – the time period allotted to attain coverage – lasts through March 20142.
Implementing the new law challenges governments at all levels and the private sector. Much needs to be done to be ready for the changes envisioned in the ACA. The rollout of this complex law will not be without problems. As part of its on-going Health Policy Colloquium series, the Muskie School will provide information and convene leaders to explore in detail how the ACA will affect Mainers, what preparations are in place to transition to the new law and to raise and respond to questions as the law is implemented. This policy brief provides background information and lays out some of those questions. We hope to provide an on-going forum for interested parties to work together with the Muskie School to address these and other issues in a timely and accurate way.
Riley, T. (2013). The Affordable Care Act: What's next for Maine? (Health Policy Colloquia Brief). Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service.