Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Dawn of a New Day - 5 BIG wins in the Health Care reform Act

1. Health insurance companies will not be able to discriminate against you because you have a pre-existing condition.

The problem has been that millions of adults and children have been denied insurance specifically because they have a medical condition. The Kaiser Family Foundation says that 21 percent of people who apply for health insurance on their own get turned down, or charged a higher price or offered a plan that does not cover their pre-existing condition. This will stop!

2. Young adults will be able to keep their parents' insurance until age 26.

The health care reform legislation requires insurance companies to allow dependent children to stay on their parents' insurance policies until age 26. The children can't have jobs that offer insurance, and they must be claimed as dependents on their parents' taxes.

Currently dependents get booted off Mom and Dad's health insurance much earlier than this, depending on the state they live in, sometimes as early as age 19. This will stop!

3. You will be eligible for a subsidy to buy insurance if you make less than $88,000 per year for a family of four.

Starting in 2014, the health care reform bill provides subsidies for people who don't get insurance from their employers and therefore have to buy it on their own. The amount of the subsidy will computed based on your income, whether you're single or have a family, your age, and where you live. For example:

• A 40-year old making $30,000 a year in a medium-cost area of the country will get an $850 subsidy toward buying a policy, which should cost about $3,500, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation subsidy calculator.

• A 40-year-old in the same city who has a family of four and is making $60,000 will get a $4,220 subsidy toward a policy that costs $9,435.

You can estimate your own subsidy by using this Kaiser subsidy calculator.

4. If your employer does not offer insurance, that might change!

Starting in 2014, if your company employs more than 50 people, it will be required to offer you a health plan that covers at least 60 percent of your overall health costs, or the company will be fined $750 per year per full-time worker. That fine could increase to $2,000 if the reconciliation act passes.

5. Health care reform has major benefits for senior citizens!

The AARP reports that health care legislation does important things for seniors:

  • It gives people on Medicare new access to free preventive services such as screenings for cancer and diabetes.
  • It will decrease and then, by 2020 it will close the "doughnut hole," Part-D drug payment gap where Medicare stops paying once a senior has spent more than $2,830 on prescription drugs and resumes when the individual's out-of-pocket spending has reached about $4,550.
  • Spending for Medicare beneficiaries is budgeted to increase 2 percent each year.


EL said...

Sometimes it still feels like our publicly-funded health system prioritizes seniors over everyone else. I feel everyone should be given the same chances. This does help though, and I'm glad to hear these big 5 wins!

EL said...

Another thing they won't be able to discriminate on - being a woman!
The law’s overarching ban on sex discrimination takes effect immediately.

David A. Lynch, M.D. said...

2 good points, EL!