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Health Insurance - How the Obama Plan Affects You

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There has been a lot of discussion about President Obama's legislation to overhaul the health insurance industry. The complexity of the documentation makes it difficult for the average person to determine exactly how this plan will affect them. This article provides a summary of key elements from the President's health plan in layman's terms.

Affordability of Health Insurance Premiums

Under the Obama health plan, insurance is more affordable through lower premiums and increased tax credits for most families. The plan establishes new "maximum percent of income paid for premiums" values for families with income of $88,000 or less. The intent of the bill also includes lowering premiums by increasing oversight and competition, and applying new accountability standards set by insurance exchanges.

The President's reform also includes new "percent of costs paid for by health insurance plan" standards for families with annual incomes of $88,000 or less. Families that make $55,000 or less per year will benefit the most from this legislation.

Increased Individual Responsibility

Individuals who have an affordable insurance option but still choose to remain uninsured are required to make an annual payment to the government to offset their health costs which are deemed "inevitable". There are numerous exemptions to this assessment based on income levels and documented hardship.

Medicare Prescriptions

A key element to this bill that helps seniors is the gradual change in prescription drug policy for those covered by Medicare. Currently, Medicare stops paying for prescription drugs after $2830.00 in a given year until the $4550.00 out of pocket threshold is reached. The Obama health plan eliminates this coverage gap entirely over the course of the next ten years.

Community Health Centers

Community health centers are a critical tool in the efforts to provide care in the underserved areas of the country. Obama's reform provides $11 billion dollars to community health centers nationwide.

Health Insurer Practices

The health legislation includes the following consumer protections: prohibits cancellations, bans lifetime limits on benefits, and requires new plans and some "grandfathered" plans to cover dependents up to 26 years old.

The reform also provides protection against group health plans that restrict annual payment limits; and it bans the exclusion of children due to pre-existing conditions.

Increased Employer Responsibility

Under the final version of this legislation, small businesses will receive $40 billion in tax credits to support coverage for their workers beginning in 2010. It does not impose a mandate on employers to provide health insurance for its employees; however, it does require companies to help pay the health costs of their workers if taxpayers are footing the bill.

We are dedicated to helping people get the information they need to choose the best health insurance plan for them.

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