After a year of effort and evolved crafting, The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act or "The Health Care Bill," is all set to the change the fate of the healthcare industry in the United States.
Everyone – individuals and businesses – stand to get affected the moment this bill is taken in and formed into a law. Here's how it affects self-employed individuals or small business owners.
Tax Credits for Employers
Small employers stand to rejoice, now that the bill allows tax credits for them. If a small employer (a small business) has less than 25 workers and pays out annual wages not more than $50,000 and if they purchase health insurance for employees, they stand to gain additional tax credits.
Insurance won't be denied
Earlier, persons with pre-existing medical conditions couldn't buy medical insurance for themselves. However, after the Health Bill has been passed, individuals with pre-existing medical conditions can tap into the huge National Risk Pool and buy themselves medical coverage. Health insurance companies will not be allowed to deny health insurance to children and adults suffering from pre-existing medical conditions. The National risk-pool is state-run and will help you reduce your out of the packet expenditure for health care.
No caps on coverage
Health insurance companies just love to put caps on the total amount of sum assured on various elements of the health insurance policy. They also have caps on the various amounts receivable under different qualifying heads. Post the new law, patients who have long-lasting diseases and conditions (and hence always run off the limits of these policies) will now stand to gain since health insurance companies will be barred from limiting these receivables.
Insurance becomes compulsory
Starting 2014, purchase of an insurance policy will be made mandatory and you are liable to be fined if you don't have one. In case you find that it is too expensive for you to buy, you may take the government's help. It's also worth mentioning that you will be fined at least $95 or 1% of your income (whichever is greater) all the way up to $695(or 2.5% of income) by 2016.
Insurance Exchanges like Stock Exchanges
Stock markets are pretty efficient, aren't they? At least there is a semblance of transparency in there. Insurance has always been a closed market, with the consumers barely knowing what they spend and for what. Starting 2014, as a part of the Health Bill, you will have new "exchanges" where you could literally shop for your Insurance policy. You will have more options that will also be made available for a lot of people who belong to low and middle income families.