Personally, I am happy that something was finally done about health care in this country. It’s about time we start doing something for people rather than corporations, no? While it’s not perfect, it’s a start – and I will take what I can at this point. As someone who does not have, and cannot get health insurance due to a pre-existing condition, this means a lot as long as the prices we are asked to pay are fair for everyone. The New York Times has a good run down of what this bill will mean for those with and without health insurance, and I wanted to point it out to anyone who had not seen it yet. A few highlights:
For Those Without Insurance
More lower-income individuals under the age of 65 would be covered by Medicaid, the federal health insurance plan for the poor. Under the new rules, households with income up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $29,327 for a family of four, would be eligible.
Most other uninsured people would be required to buy insurance through one of the new state-run insurance exchanges. People with incomes of more than 133 percent of the poverty level but less than 400 percent (that’s $29,327 to $88,200 for a family of four) would be eligible for premium subsidies through the exchanges.
Premiums would also be capped at a percentage of income, ranging from 3 percent of income to as much as 9.5 percent. Moreover, people of any age who cannot find a plan that costs less than 8 percent of their income would be allowed to buy a catastrophic policy otherwise intended for people under age 30.
For Those With Insurance
People who receive coverage through large employers would be unlikely to see any drastic changes, nor should premiums or coverage be affected. But almost everyone would benefit from new regulations, like the ban on pre-existing conditions that would apply to all policies come 2014.
One of the biggest changes involves the Medicare prescription drug program. Its unpopular “doughnut hole” “” a big, expensive gap in coverage that affects millions “” would be eliminated by 2020. Starting immediately, consumers who hit the gap would receive a $250 rebate. In 2011, they would receive a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs.
Again, it’s not perfect… at all. But it’s a start to help us catch up to every other industrialized nation on earth by making health care at least accessible to every citizen. Costs need to be controlled and insurance companies still need to be monitored for abuse – but the fact that myself and others in my situation can now finally have access to health insurance? Well, that’s quite a good start to a process that will take years to iron the kinks out of. Given time and if done right, I think this could be good for most everyone eventually. Let’s hope.