Some Truths about Health Care
(Will the opposition will stop the misinformation and scare tactics? Nope.)
Setting the Record Straight
Hill: Many Health Insurance Reform Benefits Start Now
Washington, DC - March 23, 2010 - The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590, was signed into law by President Obama today. As such, many significant benefits contained within the bill begin immediately and continue throughout the course of 2010.
“Some of the things that folks overwhelmingly support when talking about health care reform will be implemented shortly,” Congressman Baron Hill said. “For example, when asked about prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and ending their practice of rescinding coverage when folks become sick, a hearty majority of people support those efforts. Both of those provisions are not only in the reform measure, but take effect immediately.”
Below is a detailed list of benefits under the health insurance reform bill that will be implemented this year:
• Immediate Access to Insurance for Uninsured Individuals with a Pre-Existing Condition. Provides eligible individuals access to coverage that does not impose any coverage exclusions for pre-existing health conditions.
• Small Business Tax Credit. Initiates the first phase of the small business tax credit for qualified small employers for contributions to purchase health insurance for employees. The credit is up to 35 percent of the employer’s contribution to provide health insurance for employees. There is also up to a 25 percent credit for small nonprofit organizations.
This provision will directly impact the 14,600 small businesses in Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District with 25 employees or less and average wages of less than $50,000 that opt to provide coverage to their employees.
• Eliminating Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions for Children. Bars health insurance companies from imposing pre-existing condition exclusions on children’s coverage.
• Prohibiting Rescissions. Prohibits abusive practices whereby health insurance companies rescind existing health insurance policies when a person gets sick as a way of avoiding covering the costs of enrollees’ health care needs.
• Eliminating Lifetime Limits and Restricting Use of Annual Limits. Prohibits lifetime limits on benefits in all group health plans and in the individual market and prohibits the use of restrictive annual limits.
• Covering Preventive Health Services. All new group health plans and plans in the individual market must provide first dollar coverage for preventive services.
• Extending Dependent Coverage. Requires any group health plan or plan in the individual market that provides dependent coverage for children to continue to make that coverage available up to age 26.
• Bringing Down the Cost of Health Care Coverage. Health plans, including grandfathered plans, must annually report on the share of premium dollars spent on medical care and provide consumer rebates for excessive medical loss ratios.
• Reducing the Cost of Covering Early Retirees. Creates a new temporary reinsurance program to help companies that provide early retiree health benefits for those ages 55-64 offset the expensive cost of that coverage.
• Strengthening Community Health Centers and the Primary Care Workforce. Provides funds to build new and expand existing community health centers, and expands funding for scholarships and loan repayments for primary care practitioners working in underserved areas.
• Improving Consumer Information through the Web. Requires the Secretary of HHS to establish an Internet website through which residents of any State may identify affordable health insurance coverage options in that State. The website will also include information for small businesses about available coverage options, reinsurance for early retirees, small business tax credits, and other information of interest to small businesses. So-called “mini-med” or limited-benefit plans will be precluded from listing their policies on this website.
• Cracking Down on Health Care Fraud. Requires enhanced screening procedures for health care providers to eliminate fraud and waste in the health care system.
• Rebates for the Part D “Donut Hole.” Provides a $250 rebate for all Part D enrollees who enter the donut hole. Currently, the coverage gap falls between $2,700 and $6,154 in total drug costs.
• Expanding the Adoption Credit and Adoption Assistance Program. Increases the adoption tax credit and adoption assistance exclusion by $1,000, makes the credit refundable, and extends the credit through 2011. The enhancements are effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2009.
• Encouraging Investment in New Therapies. A two year temporary credit subject to an overall cap of $1 billion to encourage investments in new therapies to prevent, diagnose, and treat acute and chronic diseases. The credit would be available for qualifying investments made in 2009 and 2010.
• Tax Relief for Health Professionals with State Loan Repayment. Excludes from gross income payments made under any State loan repayment or loan forgiveness program that is intended to provide for the increased availability of health care services in underserved or health professional shortage areas. This provision is effective for amounts received by an individual in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.
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