The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, is a federal law signed by President Barack Obama, which aims to provide quality and affordable health care for every American citizen.
And after more than two years of implementation, it seems Obamacare has been successful at achieving its goals.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as some records from Gallup, the number of uninsured adults in the U.S. today is at its all-time low.
This is due to the fact that ObamaCare enables insurance buyers to have more options, the ability to compare policies efficiently, and the capacity to make better decisions on which insurance policies to get.
— OFA (@OFA) January 15, 2016
The law, which was signed in 2010 but enacted in 2014, has made health insurance policy shopping easier than before.
Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act does have its wrinkles. Americans are required to buy health insurance, or pay a mandated penalty.
However, this is where the bigger problem starts to creep in.
On Tuesday, UnitedHealth announced that it estimates losses in 2016 to be as much as $500 million on its ObamaCare health plans. As a result, this means that the country’s largest insurer is currently “dropping products and hiking premiums,” in an effort to discourage the public from buying its insurance policies for the time being.
— Fortune (@FortuneMagazine) January 21, 2016
The insurance giant’s executives still predict that more than 200,000 buyers will get insurance this year.
This means that insurance holders for UnitedHealth will have no choice but to buy policies with higher premiums even if these do not have much to offer. Many would rather abide by the rules set by ObamaCare than pay the penalties.
According to reports, there are a number of problems with Obamacare that need to be fixed, and first of these is the mandatory filing of tax returns.
Information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revealed that about 316,000 households, or more than 1.4 million people who have received tax credits failed to file for tax returns in 2014. While 147,000 households reportedly asked for an extension to file their 2014 federal tax, yet they have still failed to do so.
— AL.com (@aldotcom) January 20, 2016
Most Americans may have been able to go without filing tax returns because they did not have enough taxable income, but that changed after the implementation of ObamaCare.
Americans who are receiving tax credits are required by the law to file for tax returns. The data also said that there were 976,000 households who were able to file tax returns, but failed to include Form 8962, which is used by the IRS to compare an individual’s annual income with the tax credits he receives.
When a person has higher income, he may return some of the tax credits he received throughout the year. On the other hand, if a person’s income is low enough, then he may receive refunds to make up for the low tax credits he received.
— The Hill (@thehill) January 12, 2016
The IRS noted that currently, 43,000 enrollees were already denied in receiving tax credits because they failed to file tax returns. It may be a small sample, but considering the fact that about 1.4 million enrollees have not yet filed, they may lose their tax credits as well.
In that case, the 1.4 million, or about 10 percent of all ObamaCare enrollees will be forced to pay the full amount of their health insurance.
UnitedHealth is definitely having problems with pricing, and reports said that the insurer could pull out its ObamaCare plans next year if they don’t find a solution.
[Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]