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0 Comments | Apr 09, 2010

18 Healthcare Bill Effects

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If you’ve spent any time trying to decipher the new healthcare legislation provisions, you’ve probably noticed that it’s difficult to distill meaningful information from the sea of verbiage. The Huffington Post has done a good job of boiling it down (see their article), but the information takes a few too many clicks to uncover (patience is a virtue, just not one of ours), so we’ve boiled it down even further here. And added our own two cents, of course. Everybody’s a critic.

Without further ado:

  1. No more “sick slashing.” Your insurance company can’t drop your coverage over a technicality if you become seriously ill.
  2. Children with existing health conditions are now universally eligible for coverage. Adults in the same boat will have to wait until 2014 for the coverage inclusion measure to include them.
  3. Adults with pre-existing conditions will be included in a temporary high risk pool, which will be phased out via exchanges in 2014 (when the exclusion ban takes full effect).
  4. The “donut hole” in Medicare drug coverage for seniors will be 50% filled by next year.
  5. Children are eligible for parental plan coverage through age 26.
  6. Insurance caps will be limited through 2014, when they will be banned altogether.
  7. New plans must accommodate preventative care. All plans will have to accommodate preventive measures by 2018.
  8. Insurance companies have to reveal overhead expenditures (the public will see the man behind the curtain – the entire law is contentious, but we predict the greatest compliance resistance will surround this measure).
  9. Randomly, indoor tanning services will now be taxed. (We’re sure it sounded like a good idea at the time…)
  10. LOOPHOLE ALERT: the law allows for new fraud and waste screening procedures. Insurance companies are already notorious for their unnavigable applications – we predict this measure will cause consternation as the details of its implementation flesh out.
  11. Rural areas will enjoy Medicare payment protections.
  12. Blue Cross organizations must maintain a medical loss ratio of 85% or higher in order to receive tax benefits.
  13. Restaurants will have to publish nutritional information.
  14. The law closes a “coverage gap” for early retires (55-64), who often experience high coverage costs.
  15. The government plans to make a website available with coverage options summaries for each state. The intent is to facilitate consumer education.
  16. Therapy researchers can tap into a temporary $1B grant designed to facilitate disease treatment breakthroughs.
  17. New plans must implement an approved appeals process for coverage and claims disputes.
  18. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering up to 50% of employee premiums. We see this as a significant impetus for small businesses to stay small, given that current healthcare measures cost an average of $13,000 per year already.

There you have it. Opinions outnumber experts, but there’s one thing we all agree on: it’s going to cost time and treasure like never before to implement the measures as written. We put together a white paper with some ideas for how to reduce your healthcare expenses moving forward. We hope it’s helpful.

Just like you, we’re watching carefully as the law’s implementation unfolds. It’s going to be interesting!

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