6 ways Obamacare
may help you in 2010
1. Your health insurer can't drop you for
making a mistake
In some cases when people have filed claims,
their coverage was rescinded by the insurance company
because of inconsistencies in the original application.
The new law will require insurers to prove that fraud
or intentional misrepresentation of a material
fact occurred — for example, the person filing the claim
deliberately concealed an existing illness —
in order to rescind coverage after a claim is filed.
2. A child can stay on your health plan longer
If there's a recent high school or college grad
in your family who's struggling to land a job, you can choose
to keep the child on your health care plan until
his or her 26th birthday. For plan years beginning prior to
January 1, 2014, this provision is not applicable
if the child would become eligible to enroll in employer-sponsored coverage.
3. Your child can't be denied health coverage
due to a pre-existing condition
If you change health insurers — for example,
you get a new job and switch to the plan offered by your
new employer — your child cannot be denied coverage
for a pre-existing condition. This provision will also
apply to adults in 2014. In addition, your insurance
company can no longer revoke your existing policy if you become sick. .
4. Your total coverage will have no cap
Many health care plans are sufficient — until
something really devastating happens to your health. A severe
illness or accident can result in medical bills
that exceed the total amount of coverage your policy provides
(the so-called "lifetime limits"). But the new
law prohibits insurers from limiting the total dollar value that can
be paid to any one insured individual.
5. You may get a rebate for some Medicare drug
The health care bill gradually closes the Medicare
prescription drug coverage gap known as the "donut hole."
If you're covered by Medicare, you may already
be familiar with the donut hole if you've spent $2,830 or more
on prescription drugs in a given year. That's
when Medicare stops paying for your prescriptions — that is, until
you've spent an additional $3,610 that year (2010
figures).1 This is when "catastrophic coverage" kicks in,
which means you only pay 5% of the retail cost
for medications through the remainder of the calendar year.
The donut hole can have a huge impact on someone
who's living on a budget. But now if you're affected by
this coverage gap in 2010, you can look forward
to a $250 rebate check from the federal government to
defray at least part of your drug expenses. And
in 2011, this benefit will be expanded even further; once you
fall into the donut hole, you will be eligible
for a 50% discount on certain brand-name prescription drugs.
6. If you're a small business owner, you may
receive a tax credit
Qualifying employers who pay at least 50% of
the cost of their employees' health insurance premiums may
receive a tax credit to make coverage more affordable.
The credit amount will depend on the size of the business,
the number of employees and the average annual
wages paid. For example, if you employ no more than 25 individuals
with an average annual wage of less than $50,000,
and you contribute at least 50% of the premium cost, you may
be eligible for a tax credit up to 35% of that
contribution. This tax credit will be even more substantial in 2014
— for up to 50% of the contribution amount.
Hmmm, companies like Ameriprise (formerly American
generally don't like Democratic plans for anything.
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