Archive for March 29th, 2010

Mercy Health Plans: How the Healthcare Bill Affects You and Them

Monday, March 29th, 2010

3704917769_c7547092f9_mAfter a year in the making, the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act has passed.  Katie Adams of Investopedia describes “10 Ways the New Healthcare Bill May Affect You.”  As long as they aren’t offered employer health coverage you can insure dependent kids up to age 26 now, regardless of whether or not they are in school.  The age limit was 19 or 23 if they were in school.  Health insurance companies like Mercy Health Plans will not be able to cancel your coverage because you get sick.  It was actually common for health insurance companies to cut costs by dropping the coverage of patients who fell ill.  Children cannot be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions beginning this year.  In 2014, that will apply to adults as well.  Companies will no longer be able to cap the amount of lifetime coverage that patients receive, especially meaningful to people with expensive or chronic conditions.

A big change for people with pre-existing conditions that couldn’t obtain health insurance is that they will be able to purchase coverage through “high-risk pools” run by states that put a cap on your out-of-pocket expenses.  By 2014, you have to carry insurance coverage from a company like Aultcare or risk getting fined.  There will be government assistance for people who are not covered by employers and can’t afford coverage on their own.  There will be more options for coverage in 2014 with insurance marketplaces called “exchanges”.  There won’t be as much flexibility with flexible spending accounts in a few years.  Fewer expenses will qualify and you won’t be able to put as much pre-tax money into your FSA.  Family income greater than $250,000 will be taxed more in Medicare payroll taxes beginning in 2018.  Medicare costs will be changing for many, ranging from decreases for people who use it as their primary insurance to increases for high-income people.  Look for more details to come regarding the affects of the healthcare bill on you and your insurer.