A reader recently wrote in with the following question about healthcare reform.
Can you outline how some of the healthcare reform law changes will affect people and business owners?
Healthcare reform that has been instituted with regards to the PPACA or Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be facilitated over the coming five years. Guidelines, in most cases, will not officially become part of the law until the first of the year in 2014. However, certain mandates will take effect if your healthcare reform and coverage is renewed after the 23rd of September of this year.
The Influence of Healthcare Reform
Any health insurance coverage that is effective from March 23, 2010 will meet the requirements for coverage under the new law. Therefore, you won’t have to forego the health insurance coverage offered under your current plan if it was issued from the aforementioned date.
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The purpose of health reform is to make sure people can secure coverage and afford the costs incurred for current health problems. The new law then underscores the need for people to be covered before they are required to apply for some type of plan.
Therefore, under reform legislation, you must possess the minimum with respect to coverage. If you are currently uninsurable, you can now check a new risk pool program offered by the Federal government that offers assistance in this area.
Cancellation under the New Law
If you find yourself in a situation where your insurer cancels your health insurance, the company must, by law, provide you with notice, starting September 23rd of this year. And, coverage can only be rescinded if you either embellished information on your application for insurance or are guilty of fraud.
If the reason given by your insurer is not to your satisfaction, you should contact your state’s insurance department and register a complaint on the Internet.
The Health Saving Account – A Boon in the New Law
If you currently possess health insurance that includes an HSA or health savings account, it will remain in effect under the new health reform law. In fact, the law provides incentives for anyone with the minimum coverage, which, of course, has a higher deductible, and would help supplement the use of an HSA.
Increases in Premiums
Unfortunately, even with the new health care reform law in effect, spending for health care is still surpassing the rate of inflation. With a few exceptions, premiums, under the new bill will continue to increase. Fortunately, though, the law will hopefully stop any unanticipated jumps in costs to level out any increases.
A Tax Incentive for those Small Businesses who Provide Health Coverage
Starting this tax year, small business people will be entitled to a tax credit if they have an established health plan for their employees and remit at, a minimum, half of the premium amount. To further qualify for the credit, your business must have fewer than 25 employees.
The median annual salary for each employee should also be under $50,000. Therefore, incentives are already being instituted to give people better health protection coverage.
Minimum Health Insurance Coverage for Small Businesses under the New Law
Under the new law, if you have a small business with 75 or more employees, you are required to provide minimum health insurance coverage. Otherwise, you will be assessed a penalty of $2,000 for each employee over the first 30 employees. Needless to say, you’ll have to make sure you are covered in this area.
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