As in the song "Lawyers In Love" we have a land, a nation with too many in high places willing to do anything for money neglecting people, honor and principle but a change is coming. No more falling for the lie of living only individualistic and independent lives leaving us divided and conquerable by powerful special interests but a people, a nation collaborating for the greater common good in various groups all across the nation. A land of people working together to help one another with a vision moreover as Jesus would have us be. Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, Kindness....something about another Land. The change is coming

Thursday, January 07, 2010

What The Healthcare Bill Will Provide For Struggling Famlies

Here is what the Senate healthcare bill will essentially provide for the poor and for struggling families. It is not single payer and it is not with a public option but it is what we are realistically looking at now. Use this data in the provisions below to figure how people may benefit.
The final healthcare bill will have to closely approximate this senate version
passed by the Senate on December 24, 2009

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
(H.R. 3590)

Overall approach to expanding access to coverage

--Require most U.S. citizens and legal residents to have health insurance. Create state-based American Health Benefit Exchanges through which individuals can purchase coverage, with premium and cost-sharing credits available to individuals/families with income between 100-400% of the federal poverty level (the poverty level is $18,310 for a family of three in 2009) and create separate Exchanges through which small businesses can purchase coverage. Require employers to pay penalties for employees who receive tax credits for health insurance through an Exchange, with exceptions for small employers. Impose new regulations on health plans in the Exchanges and in the individual and small group markets. Expand Medicaid to 133% of the federal poverty level.

Premium and cost-sharing subsidies to individuals

--Provide refundable and advanceable premium credits to individuals and families with incomes between 100-400% FPL to purchase insurance through the Exchanges. The premium credits will be tied to the second lowest-cost silver plan in the area and will be set on a sliding scale such that the premium contributions are limited to 2.8% of income for those at 100% FPL to 9.8% of income for those between 300-400% FPL, except that for those with incomes between 100 and 133% FPL, the premium contribution is limited to 2% of income. (These are the provisions as drafted; however, individuals with incomes less than 133% FPL are intended to get their coverage through Medicaid.)
--Increase the premium contributions for those receiving subsidies annually by the rate of premium growth from the preceding year.
--Provide cost-sharing subsidies to eligible individuals and families with incomes between 100-200% FPL. For those with incomes between 100-150% FPL, the cost-sharing subsidies will result in coverage for 90% of the benefit costs of the plan. For those with incomes between 150-200%, the cost-sharing subsidies will result in coverage for 80% of the benefit costs of the plan. American Indians with income less than 300% FPL will not be subject to any cost-sharing requirements.
--Limit availability of premium credits and cost-sharing subsidies through the Exchanges to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who meet income limits. Employees who are offered coverage by an employer are not eligible for premium credits unless the employer plan does not have an actuarial value of at least 60% or if the employee share of the premium exceeds 9.8% of income. Legal immigrants who are barred from enrolling in Medicaid during their first five years in the U.S. will be eligible for premium credits.
--Require verification of both income and citizenship status in determining eligibility for the federal premium credits.
--Ensure that federal premium or cost-sharing subsidies are not used to purchase coverage for abortion if coverage extends beyond saving the life of the woman or in cases of rape or incest. If an individual who receives federal assistance purchases coverage in a plan that chooses to cover abortion services beyond those for which federal funds are permitted, those federal subsidy funds (for premiums or cost-sharing) must not be used for the purchase of the abortion coverage and must be segregated from private premium payments or state funds.
Premium related provisions and cost-sharing subsidies are effective January 1, 2014.

Creation of insurance pooling mechanisms

--Create state-based American Health Benefit Exchanges and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, administered by a governmental agency or non-profit organization, through which individuals and small businesses with up to 100 employees can purchase qualified coverage. Permit states to allow businesses with more than 100 employees to purchase coverage in the SHOP Exchange beginning in 2017. States may form regional Exchanges or allow more than one Exchange to operate in a state as long as each Exchange serves a distinct geographic area. (Funding available to states to establish Exchanges within one year of enactment and until January 1, 2015)
--Restrict access to coverage through the Exchanges to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who are not incarcerated.
--Require the Office of Personnel Management to contract with insurers to offer at least two multi-state plans in each Exchange. At least one plan must be offered by a non-profit entity and at least one plan must not provide coverage for abortions beyond those permitted by federal law. Each multi-state plan must be licensed in each state and must meet the qualifications of a qualified health plan. If a state has lower age rating requirements than 3:1, the state may require multi-state plans to meet the more protective age rating rules. These multi-state plans will be offered separately from the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program and will have a separate risk pool.
--Create the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) program to foster the creation of non-profit, member-run health insurance companies in all 50 states and District of Columbia to offer qualified health plans. To be eligible to receive funds, an organization must not be an existing health insurer or sponsored by a state or local government, substantially all of its activities must consist of the issuance of qualified health benefit plans in each state in which it is licensed, governance of the organization must be subject to a majority vote of its members, must operate with a strong consumer focus, and any profits must be used to lower premiums, improve benefits, or improve the quality of health care delivered to its members. (Appropriate $6 billion to finance the program and award loans and grants to establish CO-OPs by July 1, 2013)
--Create four benefit categories of plans plus a separate catastrophic plan to be offered through the Exchange, and in the individual and small group markets:
Bronze plan represents minimum creditable coverage and provides the essential health benefits, cover 60% of the benefit costs of the plan, with an out-of-pocket limit equal to the Health Savings Account (HSA) current law limit ($5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for families in 2010);
Silver plan provides the essential health benefits, covers 70% of the benefit costs of the plan, with the HSA out-of-pocket limits;
Gold plan provides the essential health benefits, covers 80% of the benefit costs of the plan, with the HSA out-of-pocket limits;
Platinum plan provides the essential health benefits, covers 90% of the benefit costs of the plan, with the HSA out-of-pocket limits;
Catastrophic plan available to those up to age 30 or to those who are exempt from the mandate to purchase coverage and provides catastrophic coverage only with the coverage level set at the HSA current law levels except that prevention benefits and coverage for three primary care visits would be exempt from the deductible. This plan is only available in the individual market.
--Reduce the out-of-pocket limits for those with incomes up to 400% FPL to the following levels:
100-200% FPL: one-third of the HSA limits ($1,983/individual and $3,967/family);
200-300% FPL: one-half of the HSA limits ($2,975/individual and $5,950/family);
300-400% FPL: two-thirds of the HSA limits ($3,987/individual and $7,973/family).
These out-of-pocket reductions are applied within the actuarial limits of the plan and will not increase the actuarial value of the plan.

--Require guarantee issue and renewability and allow rating variation based only on age (limited to 3 to 1 ratio), premium rating area, family composition, and tobacco use (limited to 1.5. to 1 ratio) in the individual and the small group market and the Exchange.
--Require qualified health plans participating in the Exchange to meet marketing requirements, have adequate provider networks, contract with essential community providers, contract with navigators to conduct outreach and enrollment assistance, be accredited with respect to performance on quality measures, use a uniform enrollment form and standard format to present plan information.
--Require qualified health plans to report information on claims payment policies, enrollment, disenrollment, number of claims denied, cost-sharing requirements, out-of-network policies, and enrollee rights in plain language.
--Require the Exchanges to maintain a call center for customer service, and establish procedures for enrolling individuals and businesses and for determining eligibility for tax credits. Require states to develop a single form for applying for state health subsidy programs that can be filed online, in person, by mail or by phone. Permit Exchanges to contract with state Medicaid agencies to determine eligibility for tax credits in the Exchanges.
--Permit states the option to create a Basic Health Plan for uninsured individuals with incomes between 133-200% FPL who would otherwise be eligible to receive premium subsidies in the Exchange. States opting to provide this coverage will contract with one or more standard plans to provide at least the essential health benefits and must ensure that eligible individuals do not pay more in premiums than they would have paid in the Exchange and that the cost-sharing requirements do not exceed those of the platinum plan for enrollees with income less than 150% FPL or the gold plan for all other enrollees. States will receive 95% of the funds that would have been paid as federal premium and cost-sharing subsidies for eligible individuals to establish the Basic Health Plan. Individuals with incomes between 133-200% FPL in states creating Basic Health Plans will not be eligible for subsidies in the Exchanges.
--Permit states to prohibit plans participating in the Exchange from providing coverage for abortions. Require plans that choose to offer coverage for abortions beyond those for which federal funds are permitted (to save the life of the woman and in cases of rape or incest) in states that allow such coverage to create allocation accounts for segregating premium payments for coverage of abortion services from premium payments for coverage for all other services to ensure that no federal premium or cost-sharing subsidies are used to pay for the abortion coverage. Plans must also estimate the actuarial value of covering abortions by taking into account the cost of the abortion benefit (valued at no less than $1 per enrollee per month) and cannot take into account any savings that might be reaped as a result of the abortions. Prohibit plans participating in the Exchanges from discriminating against any provider because of an unwillingness to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.
--Require Exchanges to submit financial reports to the Secretary and comply with oversight investigations including a GAO study on the operation and administration of Exchanges
--Unless otherwise noted, provisions relating to the American Health Benefit Exchanges are effective January 1, 2014.

With the above information and guidelines below, and if like the majority of Americans you make less than 80,000 a year you can calculate where you, your family and friends will fit in to all this. This is where the rubber meets the road.

2009 HHS Poverty Guidelines
in Family
or Household ----- FPL - federal poverty level
2 -----------------------14,570
3 -----------------------18,310
4 -----------------------22,050
5 -----------------------25,790
6 -----------------------29,530
7 -----------------------33,270
8 -----------------------37,010
For each additional
person in families of 8 or more, add 3,600
SOURCE: Federal Register, Vol. 73, No. 15, January 23, 2009, pp. 3971–3972

This healthcare bill is a Godsend for so many families struggling on the edge of disaster but is it enough when 15 million are still uncovered? You decide, but decide quickly because they want to fast track completion of this bill. It is what our heavily health insurance "influenced" congress is willing, or should I say allowed to give us. Consider this - -

Healthcare stocks have gained ground as the healthcare debate has dragged on since summer and investors have seen changes they believe are more favorable to companies.

The S&P Health Care Sector index .GSPA has gained 32 percent since late February 2009 when Obama released initial healthcare proposals in his budget. But by comparison, the broader S&P 500 .SPX is up 51 percent during the same period.

Obama nor the Democratic congress is doing anything to scare away the money. The GOP political opportunist trumped up fears of socialist apocalypse have waned, at least on Wall Street. The investors are there to make money in different ways. Things change and a nation grows up slowly and as always, the money trail tells the tale.

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