As we all know by now the US Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Health Care Act is constitutional and it will be implemented as written. This occurred on June 28, 2012, by a vote of 5-4 of the US Supreme Court. It is also safe to say that the US. Congress will continue debating the entire piece of legislation and its ultimate fate, well into the fall presidential and congressional elections.
If the Health Care Act remains intact, there are some noteworthy provisions that will be implemented that will affect most everyone:
1. Pre-Existing Conditions: Currently the State of New Jersey already allows coverage for pre-existing conditions on all group and individual plans. However most other states will not cover pre-existing condition however starting in 2014 insurance companies cannot deny coverage to anyone that has a pre-existing medical condition.
2. Prohibition of Coverage Limits: After January 1, 2014 no insurance company may impose a lifetime limit for any insured group or self-insured plan.
3. Dependent coverage to age 26: All plans will now have to cover dependents up to the age of 26; this includes adult children that are no longer attending college, those not living with their parents and even those adult children who may be married. The provision applies only to insurance plans where there is dependent coverage and the insured has elected for that provision.
4. Mandatory Coverage: The major provision in the law which will be effective in 2014 as it is currently written is that everyone will be required to be covered by a qualified health plan starting in 2014. There will be a phased-in tax penalty for those without coverage, starting at the greater of $95 or 1% of gross income and rising to the greater of $695 annually or 2.5% of gross income in 2016.
5. Increased Tax on High Income Individuals: People earning over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly will have higher taxes to pay for Medicare. The one provision that no one is talking about right now is a 3.8% assessment on “unearned income” for high income taxpayers. The law defines “unearned income” as interest, dividends, capital gains, annuities, royalties and rents.
These are only a few of the law’s vast measures that will impact not only individuals, families and business owners but will have an even larger affect on state budgets, health insurance companies, physicians and hospitals.
Hauswirth & Sons Insurance Consultants is following the Affordable Care Act on a daily basis and will be updating our blog as changes occur on our health insurance website (www.needhealthinsurance.biz).