Archive for November 7th, 2012

Election is a Win for Obama’s Health Care Changes

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

One thing is abundantly clear after the Presidential election yesterday; Americans are divided politically.  Whether you are in the small majority of Americans happy with President Obama’s re-election or one of those who were hoping for a Romney win, you will likely be affected by changes in health insurance.  This win by Obama just about cements his health care reform changes, some of which have already taken effect.  Americans with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance coverage because of their health problems.  Also, many more young adults are insured now because they can stay on their parents’ plans until age 26.

In the CNN Money article, “Obama’s re-election secures health care reform,” Emily Jane Fox says that while most of the changes will take place in 2014, some insurance changes will happen next year as well.  Even without the majority of the changes being in effect, the number of uninsured Americans decreased this year for the first time in four years.  Americans who are 19 to 25 and often uninsured are happy about the changes as well because 3.1 million more of them now have insurance.  The individual insurance mandate requiring most Americans to carry insurance doesn’t go into effect until 2014, but the following changes will happen next year.

In order to help pay for federal subsidies that lower and middle class Americans will receive to help pay for their health insurance, two Medicare taxes are going to start in 2013.  There will be a new surtax on wage income for people making more than $200,000 a year or couples making more than $250,000 a year.  Investors will also start getting charged a 3.8% tax on part of their capital gains and dividends.  The surtax will affect around 2.4% of Americans, or 4 million people at first.  That number is estimated to be 8.3 million, or 4.6% of households by 2022.  A $2,500 limit will be imposed on workers’ tax-deductible contributions to flexible savings accounts.  Employers will be required to offer health insurance when they have more than 50 employees who work for them full-time.  This last item will be required by 2014 and fines will apply if it isn’t adhered to.

Whether you supported President Obama or not, his health care changes are here to stay.  Some Americans will see very positive outcomes from their health insurance changing, while others are unhappy about the added taxes and the required health insurance coverage.  We’ll continue to follow this story as the mandates take effect.