ACA (Affordable Care Act) / Obamacare

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Well, in truth only a few of the bill’s new laws will take effect this year. In about six months it will become illegal to deny health insurance to a child based on a pre-existing condition, and children will now be allowed to stay on their parent’s insurance until the age of 26.

Seniors will also see a few benefits now. Starting this year the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” will be closed somewhat, since seniors will receive a $250 rebate to compensate for some of the medications they can’t afford.

Next year seniors in the gap will receive a 50% discount on name brand drugs. However, there will also be significant cuts to Medicare over the next decade, something that Democrats suggest will be offset by cutting out much of the Medicare fraud that drains the health care giant of billions a year.

In the year 2012 a Medicare payroll tax on investment income will be levied against families making more than $250,000 per year. This is to pay, in part, for the major parts of the bill that take effect in 2014.

If the bill is still intact as it is by 2014, the following laws will take effect:

  • All Americans will be required to purchase some form of health insurance. Otherwise a fee will be levied against them, excluding low-income individuals.
  • Non-profit health insurance exchanges will be established to help those who can’t afford current health insurance premiums. There will be separate exchanges designed specifically for small businesses.
  • Subsidies will be available to individuals and families who still can’t afford some form of health insurance.
  • Medicaid will expand to include childless adults.
  • Employers with more than 50 employees must provide health insurance to workers or pay a fine.
  • In 2018 the most controversial aspect of the bill is scheduled to begin. Health insurance companies will be expected to pay a tax on high-end “Cadillac” insurance plans worth over $27,500 for families and $10,200 for individuals. This does not include dental and/or vision.There are no benefits included for illegal immigrants.

Whether or not the bill will maintain some or all of these provisions remains unclear. With a great deal of opposition to the bill as it stands, there is a good chance that at least some aspects of this health care legislation will be changed before 2014, when the bulk of the new laws would take effect.