How Healthcare Reform Affects You – Healthcare

The debate about healthcare reform has heated up, cooled down and is still being debated. The question I think people should be asking is how the healthcare reform will affect them personally. Below are some key point which I think are the major issues people should be looking at with this reform and how it affects them directly.1. Taxing the richLast time you looked at your finances your were maybe living pay check to pay check, but if you make up to $280,000 in a single person household or up to $350,000 as a couple, then you have just been upgraded to wealthy citizen status. Anyway don’t panic yet, there were a lot of complaints by legislators and the figure was moved up to $1 million. Once you hit seven figures, there will be an additional 5.4 percent graduated tax surcharge on your household income to help cover the healthcare reform. Are you affected?2. Tax credit for small business ownersIf you own a small business and you have between 1 and 50 employees, you could benefit from a tax credit. The healthcare reform bills that are being proposed have tax credits that will help small businesses buy health insurance for their employees and will not be penalized if they do not, as would large businesses.The idea is to encourage small businesses to buy health insurance for their staff members by providing the small businesses a cheaper alternative to buy through a national exchange where they would get a better deal considering the small pool of workers they have, to buying directly from insurers. So if you own a small business you will be able to provide healthcare for your people at an affordable rate if the reform goes through.3. Keeping your present health insuranceIf you get your present health insurance from your employer, you already know that even though you contribute something, your employer contributes the lion share. Well, the way the reform is structured, you can keep that insurance as it is and continue to enjoy paying the tortoise share of the premium.However, a lot of reform critics are speculating that this ratio will reverse and you will end up paying the lion share of the premium. It has not been smuggled into the bill yet, so it’s still a baseless speculation.4. Pre-existing medical conditionInsurers do take into consideration if you have an on going medical condition before deciding on what to do with you. That is, insure you or not. Normally if you do have an existing medical condition, the insurer will charge you a higher premium or just will not insure you at all. In the healthcare reform proposal, both proposals prohibit insurers from charging people higher premiums because they have an existing medical condition. However, they allow a system know as “age rating” where older people will not be charged premiums as high as twice that of a younger person.5. Taxing your benefitsPresently when your company covers for example, x amount of dollars on your medical insurance premium, you do not pay any taxes on those funds. But, some of the people working on the reform are suggesting that some of these benefits should be taxed so that the government can raise money from the taxes.It’s not in the proposal, but people are again speculating that it might be added and a common ground will be taxing only those with the expensive health plans, whose policy’s are above $13,000.6. Covering the drug loop holeThe proposed bill will eliminate the loop hole in Medicare’s drug coverage used to cap the expenses of the program. It required a senior to have spent up to $4,350 before coverage kicks back in. Under the new bill, it is proposed that drug drug companies will fill in the gap by providing some discount up to 50% on brand name prescriptions7. The Public optionThis will be available to individuals and families that are not covered through work and therefore will be eligible for the public option and have their insurance costs subsidized. They can buy a policy through the national exchange and qualification to be able to participate will be based on a sliding scale and meeting some income guidelines. This includes income of $43,430 for an individual and $88, 200 for a family of four.I hope this gives you a bird’s eye view of what the reform is all about and how it relates to you and your family’s future health coverage.