The new health care overhaul, made official on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 by President Obama, is expected to tighten regulation of insurance companies as well as extend health coverage to over 30 million uninsured Americans. Some changes will appear to reduce current benefits for some groups, with people who earn more paying more towards health insurance premiums. However, the new health reform goals are designed to make health care more accessible to everyone in the long run. Although the reforms are fairly complicated and difficult to detail, below are how some major changes and how they will affect certain groups of people:
* Married couples with a disabled spouse, insured through Medicare
Good: The current threats of Medicare coverage cuts due to the troubling economy will be eliminated until 2014 for adults and 2019 for children. In addition, the disabled spouse could receive more services and support through state incentives.
* Single mother who is employed but uninsured with a dependent who has asthma
The Dilemma: The current insurance dilemma for this group is that they don’t make enough to qualify for private insurance and they make too much to qualify for public options. In addition, because her current employer does not offer health benefits and she can’t afford private insurance because of coverage denial for conditions such as asthma or require higher premiums, this family struggles to obtain good health coverage. In addition, the family isn’t eligible for public programs because their income level is too high.
Good: The new reforms will not allow private insurance to refuse coverage for a child’s pre-existing medical condition. By 2014, they can receive help to buy state health insurance with caps on premiums and out-of-pocket expenses based on the mother’s income.
* Married couples insured through Medicare
Good: They will receive more discounts and rebates for prescription drugs, which is one of their major problems, currently.
Bad: In 2010, subsidies to the more expensive Medicare Advantage plan will be cut which will result in higher premiums or benefit reduction to those who have this plan.
* Older couples who are married and currently insured making more than $500K combined annually
Good: Current benefits cannot drop coverage if they get sick or put caps on lifetime limits.
Bad: By 2013: They will contribute almost 1% more of their income to medicare. Flexible spending accounts will be reduced from as much as $5,000 to $2,500 and will not cover over-the-counter drugs.
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