Category Archives: Health Care Law

Obamacare Offers Free Preventative Services For Women

Good news for all our lady friends! As of yesterday, 47 million women will get greater control over their healthcare without any out of pocket spending, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced.

According to a new HHS report also released today, approximately 47 million women are in health plans that must cover these new preventive services at no charge.  Women, not insurance companies, can now make health decisions that will keep them healthy, catch potentially serious conditions at an earlier state, and protect them and their families from crushing medical bills.

The new prevention-related services now offered are:

  • Well-woman visits
  • Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases
  • Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling
  • FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling
  • Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
  • HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older
  • Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women
  • HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women

Obamacare has already helped women in private plans and Medicare access potentially life saving test and services without paying coinsurance or deductibles. With today’s announcement, insurance companies will now offer the above services without a copay. Additional benefits extend to women who are pregnant or nursing, such as gestational diabetes screening, breast-feeding support, counseling and supplies.

To learn more about the aforementioned health care services, visit http://www.healthcare.gov/prevention. 

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Health Reform

A while back we shared a cool video from the Kaiser Family Foundation that cleared up a lot of the confusion around health reform.  Now we’d like to share a few of the most frequently asked questions about the new legislation and how it will effect people like us in the upcoming years.

1. When will the health reform law take effect?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was created with a five year timeline.  Some provisions have already been implemented – preventative care is fully covered by insurance plans, those with preexisting conditions have access to coverage and retirees are getting relief with their Medicare drug coverage - but the majority of new protections will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2014.  Check out HealthCare.gov’s complete timeline for more information.

Continue reading

Confused About Health Reform? [Video]

Just like managing your health insurance, following the debate over health reform can be a daunting task.  Not many of us have the time to read 955 pages of legislation, so for those of you looking for a clear and concise explanation as to how the new law will affect you and your family, check out this awesome video from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

If you have an opinion on health reform or would like to see more videos breaking down confusing concepts around health care, leave us a comment below!

Young Adults Struggle to Get Needed Care

A recent study has reported that the number of U.S. families struggling to pay medical bills and debt is growing; so much in fact that last year 45% of young adults ages 19-29 struggled to get the health care they needed.  This means around 5/10 youth were unable to fill a prescription, go to the doctor when they were sick, or skipped a test, treatment or follow-up visit when needed.

Exhibit ES-3. The Number of Adults Without Insurance, Forgoing Health Care Because of Cost, and Paying Large Shares of Their Income on Health Care Has Increased 2001-2010

Adults ages 19–64

2001

2005

2010

In the past 12 months:
Uninsured any time during the year

24%

38 million

28%

48 million

28%

52 million

Any bill problem or medical debt*

____

34%

58 million

40%

73 million

Any cost-related access problem*

29%

47 million

37%

64 million

41%

75 million

Spent 10% or more of household income on premiums*

11%

10 million

14%

14 million

15%

14 million

Spent 10% or more of household income on premiums and total out-of-pocket costs*

21%

31 million

23%

35 million

32%

49 million

Any of the above

____

62%

107 million

67%

123 million

**http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/Files/Publications/Fund%20Report/2011/Mar/1486_Collins_help_on_the_horizon_2010_biennial_survey_report_FINAL_v2.pdf

According to the 2010 Commonwealth Fund’s Biennial Health Insurance Survey, these medical bill problems are leading to further issues such as youth not being able to pay for necessities such as food, heat, rent, incurring credit card debt or even declaring bankruptcy.

“Of those with medical bill problems or medical debt, one-third had to deplete their savings to pay their bills and one in five had to take on credit card debt,” the study reports.

Luckily, however, there’s still hope; under the Affordable Care Act thousands of young adults have made the decision to stay on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 25.  And it’s only getting better for this demographic; in 2012, college health plans will have to follow most of the same rules that private individual market health plans now face under the Affordable Care Act, meaning no more lifetime coverage limits and rescission and phasing out annual limits.  In addition, 2014 will bring extended Medicaid coverage to all adults with incomes below 133% of the poverty level, reaching an estimated 7.2 million young adults without health insurance.

Finally, in the upcoming years state health insurance exchanges will help low income young adults afford health care by offering comprehensive private health insurance with will include maternity benefits and subsidies.

“In 2014 nearly all young adults will have access to the comprehensive and affordable health insurance they need, allowing them to pursue their life and career goals without the worry that one serious illness or accident could derail their future plans,” said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis.

With these mandates it is safe to say that this burdened demographic will face less difficulty in the near future.

*TWEETABLES*

**Shout out to Brittney Roberts for guessing the correct percentage (around 50%) of young adults unable to afford needed care via our Facebook questionnaire**

Health and Money: 11 Tips to Maximize Your Healthcare Deductions for 2010

This post was written by CakeHealth and published by Mint Life, the personal finance blog of Mint.com.

With healthcare costs rising, and employers passing more of the burden on to each one of us, out of pocket costs are rising…and that is a trend that will continue to rise.  The good news is that there is a way to ease the burden if you are taking on a lot of expenses yourself.   It’s time to check your bills and insurance claims to see what you did this year, and how much of it came out of your own pocket.  Whether you are covered by your employer or are one of the growing many who are opting to get individual coverage that is reimbursed by your employer, use these tips to see what deductions you may be able to take.  You might be surprised. Continue reading

Your Health and Money: New Tax Deduction for Insurance Premiums

If you’re self-employed, you can add a new tax deduction to your 2010 filing, your health insurance premium.  Finally, your health coverage can save you money.  Sure, health insurance premiums have already been tax deductible for self-employed, so what’s new?  Previously, premiums did not reduce the amount you must pay for Medicare and Social Security tax from your total income.  For those self-employed, if you subtract the health insurance premiums first, it will reduce your income subject to self-employment tax on your 2010 returns.  And that also includes the full premiums you paid for your spouse and children.

“So, for example, if your 2010 income was $80,000 and you paid $10,000 in health insurance premiums, you’ll owe Medicare and Social Security tax on only $70,000.” according to ConsumerReports.

Save money on health? Now that’s what we like.

Tagged

You’ve Got Coverage

All new plans from September 23, 2010 and onward must cover a list of preventive services AND…without charging a copay, coinsurance, or deductible.  But how many people have a new plan since then?  Chances are you have a “grandfathered” in plan that may not provide these benefits without a cost to you.  To see the full list of services you could be getting under a new plan, Healthcare.gov has set up a page here.

Supposedly, adding preventive services to coverage would only increase premium prices by around 1.5%, or around $4 per person, if you can make sense of the mind bogglingly complex analysis that actuaries and consultants prepared for the government.  Of course we’re too smart not to notice the recent examples of extreme volatility that has occurred as a result of this and other measures to include more coverage.

A few of the covered services are a bit controversial, such as whether or not insurance should cover contraceptives for women, as The New York Times reported.  Since half of pregnancies in the US are unplanned, some argue that it should be part of preventive services to remove the cost barrier to birth control.  Others argue that pregnancy is not a disease, it is a choice and should not be covered.  These costs may be contributing to the rise in your premiums.

What do you think?  Do you think all insurance plans, existing or new, should include these preventive services?  Or are you concerned about the rising cost of premiums?  And do you think that contraceptives or family planning should be covered?

Healthcare Law “Ping Pong” Putting Sick in Limbo

“With a court decision on Monday declaring the health care law unconstitutional and Republicans intent on repealing at least parts of it, thousands of Americans with major illnesses are facing the renewed prospect of losing their health insurance coverage.”

Read more at the New York Times.

New Health Care Law Ruled Unconstitutional

As reported by the Wall Street Journal.

%d bloggers like this: