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Consumers Search: What is Obamacare?

The term “Obamacare” is in the news almost daily and it has become a household word for many Americans, yet many consumers are still unsure about the details of the plan and how it can affect them. HealthNetwork has recently released data showing that consumers have increasingly searched the internet to learn more about the details of Obamacare in the past few months. In fact, in the past month alone, related searches including “what is Obamacare” have increased over 1,400%. Another commonly searched question about the act is “does congress have Obamacare?” These searches occur especially in primarily “red” states rather than “blue” ones. This question is being asked online not just in English, but in Spanish as well. Below is an image showing Google’s increase trend in Obamacare searches.

The Affordable Care Act (the official name for Obamacare), was signed by the Supreme Court back in 2012 with the goal of providing better quality healthcare to all Americans, including those who are below the poverty line, while reducing government spending. The act uses reforms including taxes, subsidies and insurance exchanges to meet these goals. Some critics of Obamacare say that those involved focus too much on the politics of the act rather than the actual operations.

Though Obamacare is about the delivery of healthcare to Americans, it’s popularity also helped it serve as a campaign for the democratic party. Could this deviation of focus be part of the reason why Americans are confused about the details of the Affordable Care Act? Since the goals of the plan are excellent, it may be possible that The Affordable Care Act could be improved by raising consumer awareness and embracing outside healthcare players.

Healthcare is a necessity for Americans and the policies surrounding it should be well thought out. Unless the government makes their next healthcare bill more approachable, the internet searches for explanations will just continue to increase.

Although republicans and democrats are hesitant to agree on anything in American politics, some common ground about the act has been established that most people can agree on.

Some pros of the Affordable Care Act:

  1. Children can remain on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26.
  2. Insurance companies may not drop an individual for having a pre-existing condition.
  3. Insurance companies must spend at least 80 percent of the money they make from premiums on providing healthcare. This prevents insurance companies from pocketing large sums of money and denying coverage.
  4. Will cover preventative healthcare screenings without requiring a co-pay.
  5. Has provided coverage to approximately 20 million more Americans who didn’t have insurance before the act.

Some cons of the Affordable Care Act:

  1. Possible increased costs of healthcare.
  2. Consumers have reduced options when it comes to choosing insurance.
  3. Has raised federal spending.
  4. Employers are often required to provide coverage which motivates them to cut costs in other ways (such as layoffs).
  5. Has reduced profits for insurance companies.

HealthNetwork has played a large role in helping Americans learn about their insurance options in the last 4 years. In 2016 alone, HealthNetwork has assisted over 18 million American households navigate their choices for insurance.

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