So let’s discuss a cliff notes version of important changes that will help us feel like we at least have somewhat of a grasp on what is to come and what changes have already been implemented.
Some of the major changes that have already taken place are the following:
1 - Small business tax credits - The tax credit is 35% for business with 25 or fewer employees and average wages of less than $50,000. This tax credit will increase to 50% in 2014 and full tax credits may be available to small businesses with fewer than 10 employees and average wages of less than $25,000.
2 - Dependent coverage to age 26 - This requires plans to offer dependent coverage until age 26 regardless of marital status. This rule applied to all individual plans as well as to new employer plans and grandfathered employer plans, unless the adult child has another offer of employer-based coverage.
3 - Lifetime and annual limits prohibited - Individual and group plans may not impose lifetime or annual limits on essential benefits. Restricted annual limits do not apply to grandfathered individual plans.
4 - No preexisting conditions for children - Plans may no longer deny coverage to children under 19 for preexisting conditions.
5 - Preventive services without cost sharing - New policies must fully cover preventive care including immunizations, preventive care for infants, children, and adolescents, as well as preventive care for women.
6 - Medical loss ratio - Health plans must report the proportion of premium dollars that are used for all expenses and services. Plans must provide rebates to customers if expenses do not reach 85% of premium for large groups and 80% for small groups and individuals.
7 - OTC drugs and spending accounts - Health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts may no longer be used to purchase over the counter medications unless prescribed by a doctor. Increases tax for non-qualified HSA withdrawals from 10% to 20%.
If your head is not spinning yet or even if it is, please stay tuned for the next article in which I will discuss the changes that will be implemented in the very near future!
About this Author: Marc Roethel has roughly seven years experience in helping the self-employed and small business owners to obtain affordable health, life, accident, and disability insurance. He also help retirees to obtain quality medicare benefits, supplements, and final expense insurance. He currently has contracts with over 60 insurance companies, allowing him to access the best possible solutions for his clients. He also helps individuals and business owners in planning for a secure, long, and prosperous retirement.