Recent legislation passed by Congress will be making considerable health insurance changes for many Americans. The new health insurance laws seek to have every person covered by some type of health insurance policy. In doing so, people not currently covered may see a considerable impact on their bottom dollar. In theory, someone that already has insurance coverage will be impacted by the new health insurance mandate. However, it is being debated that even this segment of the population will see an increase in their existing rates, especially if they receive coverage from a business plan.
At a high level, the new health care bill simply requires that everyone have health insurance coverage. The purpose of this law is to try and ensure all Americans have coverage for any medical issues instead of relying on others to pick up the bill for any medical care they incur. In doing so, this new healthcare law forces people to purchase medical coverage or face a fine. Although seemingly dictatorial, some argue that these insurance changes are needed instead of allowing people to opt out of coverage.
If you are without health insurance at the moment, you will be required to purchase some type of policy by the year 2014. This mandate exists for each individual. That means everyone in a family must have a policy, including children. Not meeting this requirement will result in a $95 fine or 1% of your annual income. Do not be deceived because this fine will increase exponentially to $695 or 2.5% of your income by the year 2016. There are only two ways to opt out of this coverage. First, if your income level is considered below the poverty line you can choose not to participate. Second, if the cheapest policy that you can purchase is more than 8% of your annual income you will not be required to purchase it. For example, someone making $22,500 per year can opt out if the lowest priced policy is over $1,800. Being above these thresholds can significantly impact the bottom dollar of a family budget, especially since this applies per person.
It is anticipated that low priced group policies will begin to appear that cater to lower income people. These policies could be limited in scope to help keep the costs down. In addition, some predict that health insurance for existing people will also increase because of the additional people being added to plans. At this juncture it is difficult to predict until 2014 gets closer and the people begin to decide what avenue they are going to take to meet the new laws. Regardless, health insurance changes are difficult for everyone to accept and understand.