Regardless of your political affiliations, your healthcare insurance options may undergo changes between now and 2014. The bottom line of this already-approved measure is that, by law, everyone will be required to have healthcare insurance. The truth is that many don't know what these changes are and how they will affect coverage-holders and dependents. Here is a general overview of what you need to know about the new upcoming public options.

SEE: Buying Private Health Insurance

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP)
Under the PCIP, individuals with a pre-existing condition are almost guaranteed eligibility for health insurance coverage. All this comes with a few caveats of course. For one, the PCIP varies depending on what state you live in. For instance, in some states, the PCIP is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, while others are run by your home state which will have different eligibility requirements than the former. For eligibility requirements in your state and instructions for how to apply, check out the PCIP website.

Consumer Operated and Oriented Insurance Plans
The idea behind the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) is that insurance plans are run by members. In other words, you or your small business may be able to buy health coverage from non-profit, consumer-run health insurance providers. As soon as January 1, 2014, you and others who wish to enter a CO-OP may apply for a federal loan to start your own "consumer-driven" health plan. The objective of the CO-OP is to focus on its members' needs as a collective entity to improve access to care.

Affordable Insurance Exchanges
Affordable Insurance Exchanges are meant to create more transparency regarding consumer healthcare options. For small employers, they are designed to provide more affordable plans that meet their needs. For individuals, these exchanges help you shop to compare both private and public health plans. In other words, they act as the middle man and find out whether you are eligible for tax credits that make health insurance more affordable.

SEE: 5 Health Insurance Considerations

Young Adults and Health Coverage
What does the Affordable Care Act say about coverage for your adult child? The law states that you can now keep your children on your health insurance plan until the age of 26. According to, children may remain on your plan even if they are married, attending school or not financially dependent on you. The idea behind this law is that it will provide affordable health insurance for all young adults.

The Bottom Line
Come January 1, 2014, new public insurance options will be available to you as an alternative to the private insurance market. One of the goals of this measure is to make health insurance more attainable and more transparent. A fully transparent health insurance market will be difficult to accomplish, but there is light at the end of the tunnel with this health plan. If the health law continues to stand in 2012, Americans will be able to shop for health insurance on new exchanges.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    The 5 Best Dividend Stocks in the Healthcare Sector

    Learn about the top five dividend stocks of companies operating in the health care sector that generate substantial cash flows to afford high payouts.
  2. Investing News

    These 3 High-Quality Stocks Are Dividend Royalty

    Here are three resilient, dividend-paying companies that may mitigate some worry in an uncertain investing environment.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top 5 Health Mutual Funds

    Learn about the top five mutual funds that invest in stocks of companies that primarily operate in the health care sector of the United States.
  4. Investing

    Soul Cycle vs. Planet Fitness

    How has the fitness industry's shift from multipurpose health clubs to specialized studios and budget gyms played out for SoulCycle and Planet Fitness?
  5. Investing

    Which GOP Candidate Brings What to the Table?

    What are the major GOP presidential candidates' economic plans and how do they differ?
  6. Retirement

    How to Decide Where to Live in Retirement

    Here's a guide to help you decide where you want to live after retirement.
  7. Professionals

    How to Create a Retirement Co-Op in Your Community

    As the retirement boom continues, retirement co-ops are growing in popularity. Here's how to set one up in your community.
  8. Insurance

    The 4 Best Alternatives to Long-Term Care Insurance

    Understand what long-term care insurance is and the types of people who need this coverage. Learn about four alternatives to long-term care insurance.
  9. Insurance

    Explaining Indemnity Insurance

    Indemnity insurance is an insurance policy that protects business owners and employees from losses due to failure to deliver expected services.
  10. Retirement

    What to Do When Your Doctor Doesn't Take Medicare

    Stay and pay the full fee? Cut and run to another provider? Five ways to cope when Medicare threatens to break up you and your medico.
  1. Are Cafeteria plans exempt from Social Security?

    Typically, qualified benefits offered through cafeteria plans are exempt from Social Security taxes. However, certain types ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can your insurance company cancel your policy without notice?

    In most states, an insurance company must give a policyholder written notice of at least 30 days before canceling a policy. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I calculate insurance premium tax?

    In the United States, consumers do not pay any additional tax on health insurance premiums. However, your insurance premiums ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can your insurance company drug test you?

    Insurance companies have the right to require drug tests for health insurance and life insurance policies, but not all of ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between a peril and a hazard?

    The two related terms "peril" and "hazard" are often used in reference to the insurance industry. Essentially, a peril is ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the Social Security administration responsible for?

    The main responsibility of the U.S. Social Security Administration, or SSA, is overseeing the country's Social Security program. ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  2. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  3. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  4. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  5. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  6. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!