Health Care Reform
Passage of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 offers hope to millions of Americans who were previously uninsured.
Changes that will be felt six months after the enactment of the law include the benefit felt by children with pre-existing conditions who were previously denied coverage. The new law prohibits discrimination of our country’s most vulnerable citizens. Young adults will now be provided coverage until their 26th birthday through their parent’s insurance. Families also benefit due to a prohibition on insurance companies from placing lifetime caps on insurance coverage.
Effective in 2010, the new law now provides access to affordable insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary subsidized high-risk pool. The bill also creates a temporary re-insurance program, until the new Health Insurance Exchanges are available, to help offset the cost of expensive premiums for employers and retirees for health benefits for retirees age 55-64. The health care reform bill calls for each state to set up an ‘exchange’, or market place, where people not covered through their employers would shop for health insurance at competitive rates.
The Act requires most individuals not otherwise eligible for Medicaid or Medicare or other government-sponsored coverage to maintain minimum essential coverage beginning after 2013. Individuals who fail to maintain minimum essential coverage would be liable for a penalty. Starting in 2014, a flat penalty of $95 will be imposed. That number will rise to $325 in 2015 and $695 in 2016.
Individuals would also be eligible for premium tax credits when employer-provided insurance costs 9.5 percent or more of the employee’s household income or the employer plan’s share of benefits is less than 60 percent.
There are numerous benefits of health insurance reform. These changes are designed to drive down premiums for families, limit out-of-pocket costs, and provide Americans with stability and security.
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