Depending on which side of the political aisle you tend to sit on, you may be happy or frustrated by health care reform. Many of the changes affecting insurance coverage won’t go into affect until 2014, but if you’re starting new coverage after Sept. 23, 2010, you will be able to take advantage of some changes sooner than others. Likewise, if you are a retiree, or a youngster, you can take advantage of improved coverage.
Here are some things you may want to know regarding health care reform:
1. What changes were immediately effective?
• Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credits – crediting up to 35 percent of employee’s health insurance premium for qualifying small businesses. Small non-profit organizations may receive up to a 25 percent credit.
• Allowing States to Cover More People on Medicaid – low-income individuals and families may be able to get care under Medicaid where they couldn’t before. States providing services to additional residents may be able to receive matching funds from the federal government.
2. I am a senior on Medicare, and I have a lot of expensive prescriptions. What’s in the new legislation for me?
Seniors with expensive prescription drugs costs will receive a $250 rebate check from the government to help cover the gap between their Medicare coverage and the cost for drugs. This benefit is automatic, so if someone calls or writes you and says they can help you get your check, hang up!
3. I received a letter from my employer asking for verification of covered dependents on my employer-run plan. Do I have to respond?
Yes, many companies are in the throes of getting ready for changes are taking effect over the coming years. One step is making sure that there aren’t fraudulent dependents on existing policies. The government also is cracking down on fraud and waste in Medicare, Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
4. I want to retire early but am concerned about losing my employer-offered coverage since I don’t qualify for Medicare yet. Do I have to keep working to get health care insurance without breaking the bank?