Victory for Health Care
Implementation of the Health Care Reform Act’s provisions will be staggered over coming years. Some key changes, and the years they take effect, include:
• Children under 19 years of age with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance coverage.
• Young adults can be covered by their parents’ insurance plans until their 26th birthday.
• Seniors will receive a $250 rebate towards filling the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug coverage that currently falls between the limit of $2,700 and the threshold for catastrophic coverage, which doesn’t occur until $6,154 of prescription expenses.
• Insurers will be prohibited from canceling policies when a person becomes ill.
• Insurers will be prohibited from placing lifetime limits on benefits and using restrictive annual limits.
• A temporary, high-risk pool will cover uninsured people with medical problems, until 2014 when greater coverage expansion begins.
• Businesses of less than 50 employees will receive tax credits for 35 percent of health care premiums paid for their employees.
• Free annual wellness visits, along with prevention plans, start under Medicare.
• Enrollees in Prescription Drug Plan or Medicare Advantage will receive a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs.
• The Medicare Payroll Tax will increase. Individuals earning more than $200,000, and married couples earning more than $250,000, will pay 2.35 percent instead of the current 1.45 percent.
• An excise tax of 2.3 percent will be charged on the sale of medical devices.
• Government mandate will require most individuals to have coverage or pay a penalty.
• Insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage or charging more for coverage due to a person’s medical status.
• Insurers will be prohibited from charging women more than men.
• Medicaid eligibility for the non-elderly will be extended to all individuals with incomes below 133 percent of the poverty level.
• Individuals with incomes above the Medicaid eligibility level, but below 400 percent of the poverty level, can receive credits towards insurance coverage.
• High-cost, employer-provided insurance plans will be subject to an excise tax, which will kick in for family plans costing $27,500 or more, and individual plans costing $10,200 or more.