View Mobile Site
Posted: May 26, 2010 12:00 a.m.

Here's To Your Health: Obama’s health care overhaul

Here is some information about President Barrack Obama's massive heathcare overhaul bill that was signed into being on March 22, 2010:

Coverage: 32 million uninsured. The major increase in coverage will begin in year 2014. When it is fully installed, 94 percent of eligible non-elderly Americans will have coverage. Current coverage is 83 percent.

Cost: According to the Congressional Budget Office, coverage expansion will cost $938 billion over 10 years.

Deficit reduction: Our budget deficit will be reduced by $143 billion over a decade, according to the CBO.

Mandate: Taking effect in year 2014, almost everyone will be required to be insured or else pay a fine. Some exemptions for low income people may be made.

Insurance Industry Changes: Beginning this year, insurers will not be able to place lifetime dollar limits on policies, deny coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions, or cancel policies because someone gets sick. Parents will be able to keep children on their coverage up to age 26. A new high-risk pool will offer coverage to uninsured people with medical problems until 2014, when major consumer safeguards will take effect. Insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage to people with medical problems or charging them more. Insurers will not be able to charge women more than men.

Medicaid: Expands Medicaid insurance program for the poor to cover people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level which is $29,327 a year for a family of four. Childless adults will be covered for the first time, starting in 2014. The federal government will pay 100 percent of costs for covering newly eligible individuals through 2016.

Taxes: Increase in Medicare payroll tax to investment income and wages of individuals making more than $200,000 a year, or married couples above $250,000. Tax on investment income would be 3.8 percent if the Senate acts on a package of changes this week - higher than originally proposed. If the Senate follows through, the legislation also would impose a 40 percent tax on high-cost insurance plans worth more than $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. The tax would go into effect in 2018.

Prescription Drugs: Slowly closes the "doughnut hole" coverage gap in the Medicare prescription drug benefit that seniors fall into once they have spent $2,830. Seniors who hit the gap this year would receive a $250 rebate, if the Senate acts this week. Beginning in 2011, seniors in the gap would receive a discount on brand name drugs, initially 50 percent off.

When the gap is completely eliminated in 2020, seniors will still be responsible for 25 percent of the cost of their medications until Medicare's catastrophic coverage kicks in.

These are just a few of the changes that have just been voted into law. This is not final, however, as opponents battle the current administration to make changes. But no matter the final details, health care in this country has just undergone a major transformation.

Dr. C. Kirven Weekley is a clinical psychologist with offices in Covington and Norcross. He specializes in the evaluation and treatment of adults for depression, anxiety, relationship problems and medical issues. He can be reached at (770) 441-9244.

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...