Now that The Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act is law, your patients may have questions for you or your staff about how they may be affected by the new rules. Investopedia identified 10 things that will be important to pass along to your patients:
- Your kids are covered. Starting this year, if you have an adult child who cannot get health insurance from an employer, your child can stay on your insurance policy until he or she is 26 years old.
- You can’t be dropped. Starting this fall, your health insurance company will no longer be allowed to cancel your policy if you get sick.
- You can’t be denied insurance. Starting this year your child (or children) cannot be denied coverage simply because they have a pre-existing health condition.
- You can spend what you need to. Starting this year, companies will be barred from instituting caps on coverage.
- You don’t have to wait. Starting this fall, if you have pre-existing conditions, you will be able to purchase insurance through a state-run “high-risk pool”, which will cap your personal out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare. You will not be required to pay more than $5,950 of your own money for medical expenses.
- You must be insured. Starting in 2014, if your employer does not offer health insurance as a benefit, you will have to purchase health insurance or risk being fined. The lowest fine would be $95 or 1% of a person’s income (whichever is greater) and then increase to a high of $695 or 2.5% of an individual’s taxable income by 2016.
- You’ll have more options. Starting in 2014, states will operate new insurance marketplaces – called “exchanges” – that will provide you with more options for buying an individual policy if you can’t get, or afford, insurance from your workplace and you earn too much income to qualify for Medicaid.
- Flexible spending accounts will become less flexible. Starting in 2013, flexible spending accounts (FSAs) will have lower contribution limits – meaning you won’t be able to have as much money deducted from your paycheck pre-tax and deposited into an FSA for medical expenses as is currently allowed. The new maximum amount allowed will be $2,500. In addition, fewer expenses will qualify for FSA spending.
- If you earn more, you’ll pay more. Starting in 2018, if your combined family income exceeds $250,000 you will have more money deducted from your paycheck to go toward increased Medicare payroll taxes. In addition, you will also have to pay 3.8% tax on any unearned income, which is currently tax-exempt.
- Medicare may cover more or less of your expenses. Starting this year, if Medicare is your primary form of health insurance you will no longer have to pay for preventive care such as an annual physical, screenings for treatable conditions or routine laboratory work. In addition, you will get a $250 check from the federal government to help pay for prescription drugs currently not covered as a result of the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole”. However, if you are a high-income individual or couple (making more than $85,000 individually or $170,000 jointly), your prescription drug subsidy will be reduced.
For more detail, read the full story “10 Ways the New Healthcare Bill May Affect You” at Investopedia.com.