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Encore
A blog about living in and planning for retirement

Making Sense of the Affordable Care Act

Whatever your opinion of the Affordable Care Act, many individuals and businesses remain unfamiliar with the particulars of the legislation. This collection of resources can get you up to speed.

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The Supreme Court decision last week upholding the bulk of President Obama’s health-care law highlighted both a challenge for the White House and a criticism of health reform: sizable numbers of Americans don’t understand how it works and what it might cost them.

To give people a basic understanding of the Affordable Care Act, the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit and nonpartisan research group that focuses on health care, has assembled several reports and tools that provide a good overview of the legislation: how and when it will be implemented and what its impact will be. Among the resources:

  • A summary of the act and an interactive timeline that helps explain the act’s provisions.
  • A flow chart and analysis of how the “individual mandate” – the requirement that most people carry a minimum level of insurance coverage – would work.
  • A map that shows where individual states stand in developing insurance exchanges.
  • A calculator that estimates tax subsidies for people who buy coverage through the exchanges.
  • An infographic that illustrates employers’ responsibilities.
  •  Illustrated profiles that illustrate how the law’s coverage provisions might affect individuals and businesses.

Separately, a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that a slim majority of Americans, for the moment, have had their fill of health-care talk. Fifty-six percent of surveyed adults said they would like to see the law’s detractors stop their efforts to block implementation and move on to other national issues. (Not surprisingly, 82% of surveyed Democrats are in favor of moving to new issues, while almost seven in 10 surveyed Republicans – 69% – say they want to see efforts to stop the law continue.)

Regardless of your stance, the Kaiser resources should give you a better understanding of the Affordable Care Act and a better understanding of the debate surrounding health-care reform.

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About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.