What You Need to Know about Health Care Reform: Review of the Controversial Talking Points.

Published October 24th, 2013 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by
Chris Riley

Employers will not be required to buy health insurance for their employees, but large employers may be subject to fines if they don’t provide insurance: It was Congress’ aim to encourage employers, especially large employers, to offer insurance. So they created a fine for employers with more than 50 workers: if those employees buy insurance on the exchanges and qualify for a low-income credit from the government, then the employer will have to pay a fine. These fines are calculated based on the number of employees: for large firms, the fines could be significant.

State decisions to expand or opt out of Medicaid: The Supreme Court in June ruled that states can choose whether they will participate in the expansion of Medicaid. It's likely that a number of states will go along with the law's provision to provide coverage to people with incomes less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level, according to Dr. Jonathan Jaffery, a nephrologist and healthcare policy expert at the University of Wisconsin. "For those states that opt-out of expanding their Medicaid programs, this will mean that many people will continue to have limited access to health care," Jaffery said.

The cap on health insurance premiums being dependent on income: The government intends to cap premiums for people who make below a certain income. For people who buy insurance on the exchanges, a family of four making $88,000 would have a cap of 9.5 percent of their income, and lower incomes would have lower caps. The fine for not having insurance would be a minimum of $95 per person per year, with exemptions for financial hardship and other special cases.

A majority of people will see a slowdown in the rate at which their premiums increase: When President Obama talks about premiums going down, he usually means they won't go up as much as they would otherwise.  For the four out of five people who get their insurance through their employer, the savings would land in the 0 to 3 percent range by 2016, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, or CBO. People who buy insurance on their own, but who don't qualify for government subsidies, could actually see their premiums rise by as much as 10 to 13 percent, but that's largely because they'll be getting beefed-up policies that would pay for more basic services, especially preventive care. Low-income people who qualify for new credits to buy insurance would see the biggest drops.

Think you’ve got the hang of what this all means? Try our fun little Health Care Reform Quiz at http://www.usarx.com/quiz and compare with the rest of your friends on Twitter and Facebook!


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