Are there any private health insurance problems I should know about?
The United States government has recently decided to overhaul their health insurance system due to the many problems with private health insurance. Many people believe that health insurance plans cost too much and medical care costs have risen to the point where no one can afford proper coverage. However, no one can afford not to have coverage either. From now until 2014 there will be some huge changes happening to both private and public health insurance.
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According to Kaiser Education, the amount of money spent on health care in 2010 was almost 2.6 trillion. This is a profound increase from the 256 billion dollars which was spent in 1980.
In order to get the problems with private health insurance under control the government is implementing extreme changes to the health insurance system over the next few years.
Changes to U.S. Healthcare System
The changes proposed by the American government to the healthcare system have been a hotly debated topic. The U.S. government is gradually progressing towards providing universal healthcare for all Americans. The idea is to make affordable health insurance plans the rule rather than the exception. The proposal for this is still pending, but there have and will be some serious changes to the U.S. healthcare.
In 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act were amended. Health insurance companies were no longer allowed to drop policyholders when they became ill. Lifetime coverage limits and annual limits provided by health insurance companies were also restricted or eliminated.
Many young adults were not able to stay on their parent’s health insurance plan past the age of 19. However, with the new government regulations on health insurance companies enacted in 2010 young adults are now able to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until they are 26 years of age.
A new high risk pool program was developed so that adults with preexisting conditions could obtain health insurance.
This will expire once the new insurance changes are due to begin in 2014. In 2010 and 2011 a short term reinsurance program was created to help health insurance companies maintain health coverage for those between 55 and 64. Those small businesses that help to provide health insurance for their employees will receive a tax credit.
In 2011, Medicare started to provide ten percent bonus payments to primary care professionals and surgeons and also started to cover the full costs of annual wellness visits and prevention plan services to policyholders.Employers are now required to disclose the value of employee health benefits on their W-2 tax forms.
Changes in 2012
The government is moving forward with its healthcare reform. In 2012 there will be several new implementations.
An incentive program is in the process of being set up by Medicare.
This incentive plan will help acute care hospitals improve the quality of their outcomes.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be overseeing government programs. This will entitle them to track hospital readmission rates and place financial incentive in order to help prevent those that are unnecessary or preventable.
In 2013 Medicare will launch a trial program on payment bundling. This is to encourage hospitals, doctors and other providers to coordinate the best in patient care.
There will also be an increase on itemized tax returns for those claiming medical expenses. It will be 10% versus the 7.5% for those claiming medical expenses on their tax forms. Those individuals who earn more than $200000 per year and those couples who earn more than $250000 per year will have to pay a Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax of 2.35% versus the current 1.45%.
The biggest changes will come in 2014. State health insurance exchanges for individuals and businesses will then be open. Anyone with an income of 133% of the federal poverty level will qualify for Medicaid.
There will be new healthcare tax credits available to help those who are impoverished pay for health insurance coverage. Almost everyone will be required to obtain health insurance. A penalty will be given to those people who fail to maintain health insurance coverage.
Employers with fifty or more workers who do not offer health insurance coverage will be fined $2000 per worker if they do not implement a group health insurance plan. Health insurance companies will have to pay fees based on their market shares and health insurance companies will no longer be able exclude people with preexisting health conditions.
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