Health Care Reform Highlights

President Obama has signed into law a healthcare reform bill that created both controversy and confusion among lawmakers and citizens.

It promises to provide healthcare to all citizens by 2014 as well as a myriad of other amendments.

Many seniors worry what the outcome of this legislation will be on their current Medicare coverage as well as how this might raise the cost of their out of pocket expenses for healthcare on fixed incomes.

Highlights

  1. Close the hole in Medicare prescription drug plan by 2020. Seniors who hit the donut hole by 2010 will receive a $250 rebate.
  2. Government funding to Medicare Advantage private insurers will be cut $132 billion over 10 years which might mean the loss of additional services from these policyholders not available through current Medicare coverage.
  3. Medicare will begin covering annual Wellness visits not currently included.
  4. Beginning in 2011, seniors in the gap will receive a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs. The bill also includes $500 billion in Medicare cuts over the next decade.
  5. The creation of a national insurance trust for long-term care insurance, known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act.
  6. Eliminates insurance companies’ ability to refuse coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.
  7. Provide access to insurance coverage for all uninsured Americans estimated at 32 million currently.  It will fine anyone not opting to enroll in a healthcare plan $695.
  8. Fine large companies $2,000 per employee for not providing healthcare coverage.
  9. Mandate that restaurants or vending machine operations with 20 or more locations provide nutrition information on menu boards, drive through lanes and printed menus and any other nutrition information requested by consumers.
  10. Adult children up to age 26 can remain on their parents’ insurance policy.

 We will all have to wait and see what these sweeping changes will mean to our health, well being and pocketbooks.