Washington Matters


Some Health Changes Happen Quickly

Martha Lynn Craver

While it will take years to fully implement the health care bill, some of its provisions will take effect almost immediately.



Here’s a quick rundown of the provisions in the health care bill that will affect businesses and individuals as soon as 90 days after the bill is signed into law:

•The bill will provide tax credits for small employers with no more than 25 workers and average annual wages of less than $50,000, if they purchase health insurance for employees.

•It will create a temporary reinsurance program for employers providing health insurance coverage to retirees over age 55 who are not eligible for Medicare.

•Individuals with preexisting medical conditions who now have trouble buying insurance will be able to use a temporary national high-risk insurance pool to purchase health coverage to individuals.

Parents of children up to the age of 26 will be able to buy insurance for their kids under their own group plans.

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•Medicare beneficiaries who reach the coverage gap, or doughnut hole, in prescription coverage in 2010 will receive a $250 rebate.

•Insurers will be barred from imposing a lifetime limit on the dollar value of coverage for individual or group plans. Plans may only impose annual limits on coverage as determined by the secretary of Health & Human Services. Insurers will also be barred from rescinding coverage except in cases of fraud, and they cannot use preexisting conditions to exclude kids from coverage.

•The legislation will also require qualified health plans to provide coverage without cost-sharing for certain preventive services, including recommended immunizations, preventive care for infants, children and adolescents, and additional preventive care and screenings for women.


Learn how the new health care legislation will affect your business. Join a special Kiplinger audio conference April 20. Order online now!


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