By using this site, you agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Close X

Obamacare: 10 lesser known facts you should know

  • Supreme Court upholds President Obama's health care law
Obamacare: 10 lesser known facts you should know

The focus of the Supreme Court's health care ruling Thursday was focused in large part on the "individual mandate" in the law -- a provision that requires nearly all Americans to buy health insurance or face a penalty. But what about the other major parts that will directly affect you?

Here's a brief look at some of the big items that aren't getting the attention the individual mandate has:


When 2013 rolls around, those making more than $200,000 a year -- or $250,000 for married couples -- will pay more into Medicare. The law adds a surtax on wage income and a new tax on investment income.


The Supreme Court said in their ruling Thursday that a part of the law pertaining to Medicaid has to change. Under the law, Medicaid would be expanded, and states that don't participate in the expansion would lose their existing funding. The justices said the government must remove that provision.

Mothers' health

According to the law, employees must provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk." In addition, the law says mothers who are nursing can take "reasonable breaks" during the day to attend to their health needs. The only exception? Companies with less than 50 workers.

Free preventive care

Services such as physicals, colonoscopies, mammograms, HIV and HPV testing, cholesterol screenings, contraception and more will be covered in full by your insurance company. This provision went into effect in 2010. The complete list is here.

Scrutiny for doctors and providers

The Physician Payment Sunshine Act under the law requires companies (drug or medical supply) to report what they've given doctors and other medical professionals. The information will be available to the public on a website.

Calorie information

Under the law, restaurants and vending machine operators with 20 more more locations must list calorie information. Next time you go to McDonalds, look up: You'll likely see how many calories a Big Mac REALLY has.

Abstinence-only education

The law renews $50 million per year for five years for abstinence-only education. The details: According to the Department of Health and Human Services, "programs that receive this funding must teach that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems." And they also have to teach that sex before marriage is "likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects."

Flexible spending accounts

You used to be able to buy over-the-counter drugs and other related items using your flexible spending account. Now, you can only use the accounts for prescription drugs. Other items you CAN still purchase with your account: Contact lens solution, bandages, condoms, etc. In 2013, however, your contribution to the accounts will have an annual limit of $2,500 (there was no limit before).

Tanning is taxed

Somewhere in New Jersey, Snooki is burning mad. Since 2010, tanners have been paying a 10% tax every time they laid down in the booth.

Work wellness

Companies are now given incentives to implement wellness programs for their employees. Up to $200 million in grants from 2011 to 2015 were set up from the law. When 2014 rolls around, those in wellness programs may be able to get discounts from their employers of nearly 30% of the cost of their health care premiums.

CNN's Madison Park and Elizabeth Landau contributed to this report.

Join the conversation... welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.
What runners think about when they run
Health | See all 1069 items What runners think about when they run