Is Obamacare still active?

Obamacare is still active although one of its clauses is not.
Obamacare is still active although one of its clauses is not.

At present, Obamacare or the Affordable Healthcare Act is active, although one of its main clauses “the individual mandate” has been abolished at the federal level since 2019. This means that at present, there is no penalty for not buying the health insurance under Obamacare.

Obamacare has been under attack since Mr. Donald Trump was elected into office in 2016, but it has survived total abolishment. Currently, the fate of Obamacare hangs in balance in the Supreme Court of the United States. President Joe Biden’s victory over the incumbent President Donald Trump in November 2020 may spell good news for the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but the confirmation on the same is still awaited. 

The original Obamacare/Affordable Healthcare Act required every American to purchase a healthcare plan. Those who did not have an insurance plan were to have a tax penalty. In December 2017, the Trump administration passed a tax bill revoking the tax penalty for those who do not purchase the health insurance. This repeal still continues in 2020 so that there is no fine for individuals for not buying the health insurance plans in most of the United States apart from California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Washington.

What is Obamacare?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare was initiated by President Barack Obama in 2010. This act was a major overhaul for the US healthcare system. It made having health insurance mandatory for every American. If any individual refused to get insurance, they were subjected to a tax penalty. Those who could not afford their healthcare plan were offered assistance by the government. Essentially, the rich helped the poor to buy insurance, making quality healthcare available to all. The tax penalty money helped people who could not afford a policy to buy one. Obamacare aimed to reduce the expenditure for uncompensated care in an average American family. Under Obamacare, the insurance company cannot deny payouts unless they find evidence of fraud.

Obamacare includes subsidies to help lower-income individuals cover the cost of their insurance. These subsidies, also known as tax credits, are still in effect in 2020. Obamacare has an Open Enrolment Period (OEP). This is the time when people can buy a new health insurance plan for the upcoming year. OEP for 2021 plans will be from November 1st 2020 to December 15th 2020. If people do not enroll in a plan during OEP, they cannot buy ACA-compliant coverage unless they experience a qualifying event. Such event include

  • Unemployment
  • Move to a new coverage area
  • Childbirth
  • Loss of existing coverage
  • Family event, such as marriage, divorce or death

If someone finds themselves without insurance and they are not eligible for a qualifying event, they may be able to enroll in a short-term plan depending on the state where they live.

What does Obamacare cover?

The specific coverage someone receives with their plan under Obamacare will vary based on their particulars. The act has required coverage for some medical services, including

  • Preventative care
  • Emergency care
  • Outpatient care when they are not admitted to the hospital
  • Hospitalization
  • Pregnancy and newborn care
  • Services for mental health and substance use disorders
  • Rehabilitative services
  • Pediatric care
  • Laboratory services

Why is Obamacare criticized?

  • Obamacare led to a rise in insurance premiums for many individuals, thus cutting down their savings.
  • There was a modest fine if an individual did not buy an insurance plan. This fine was abolished in 2019.
  • Obamacare resulted in Americans paying more taxes. The rich were essentially supporting the poor to pay for their healthcare insurance. This was unacceptable to many.
  • Companies started cutting back on employees’ working hours to avoid paying for insurance for them.


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Medically Reviewed on 11/23/2020
Medscape Medical Reference