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Understanding Health Insurance Reform

The new healthcare reform bill will completely change how health insurance works in the United States by 2014. Here are just a few highlights:

  • In 2014, not only will most adults be required to carry health insurance but insurance companies will not be allowed to decline coverage based on pre-existing conditions. While this could be viewed as a great change in the way health insurance works in this country, it is unknown how it will affect health insurance rates. By having the requirement that all citizens be covered, insurers have a better chance to spread the risk that they take on by approving all applicants, but it is unknown if this spread of the risk will be enough or if rates will need to increase substantially.
  • Young adults can remain insured on their parents plan until age 26. This will help many young people who are attempting to transition from college to the workforce.
  • Tax credits for health insurance premium payments will be given to Americans who make up to 400 times the national poverty level. These credits are a fantastic incentive to get health insurance as they basically act as a trade off-you can pay your taxes to the IRS or you can pay for health insurance.
  • In 2014, Medicaid will expand and allow individuals and families making up to 133 times the national poverty level to take part in the program. This expansion will allow coverage to many people who previously made too much money to qualify but who also made too little money to afford their own insurance policies.
  • Insurance exchanges in each state will make it possible for you to exchange your employer-sponsored health insurance policy for an individual policy in 2014. This will allow for increased portability and better access to insurance coverage.

All in all, the changes brought on by the bill seem like they will make a positive difference in the state of healthcare in the U.S. However, since they are largely untested, it’s impossible to know what the real outcome of this change will be.

May 30, 2010

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