It has been passed and signed by President Obama. Now to gather as much information about it to learn how it will help us. The plan will be phased in over the next 10 years, with some provisions taking until 2020 to be fully enacted. In reality, there will probably be many changes to the bill, as it actually gets put into place. But it is a start.

In 2010 it will:

  • Set up a high risk health insurance pool to provide uninsured people with medical problems access to affordable coverage
  • Require all insurance plans, within 6 months, to allow dependent children to remain on their parents policies until the age of 26. In addition insurers will be prevented from denying coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions.
  • Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to put lifetime limits on coverage. They will also only be able to cancel policies due to fraud.
  • Small businesses with up to 25 employees will get tax credits to help them get and keep coverage for their employees.
  • Medicare participants will get a $250 rebate on their prescriptions to shrink the out of pocket expenses they have for medications.
  • Reduce Medicare payments to facilities and home health providers.
  • Tax indoor tanning facilities 10%.

In 2011 it will:

  • Provide the ability to disabled individuals to get a modest cash benefit through a long term care insurance program that will enable them to remain in their homes and cover nursing home costs
  • Medicare recipients will get a 50% discount on brand name drugs, as part of narrowing the prescription coverage gap.
  • Pay doctors and general surgeons an 10% more for practicing in underserved locations.
  • Freeze payments to Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Increase funding to community healthy centers which provide care to low income and uninsured people.
  • Require employers to report health care benefits on employees W-2 tax statements
  • $2.3 billion fee to be charged to drug manufacturers, increasing over time

In 2012 it will:

  • Create non profit insurance co-operatives
  • Medicare Payroll Tax will be expanded to include unearned income. That will be a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for families making more than $250,000 per year ($200,000 for individuals).

  • Medicare payment reforms will be initiated by encouraging hospitals and doctors to join together in organizations that are geared to be quality driven and more accountable for results.
  • Penalize hospitals with a high rate of preventable readmissions.

In 2013 it will:

  • Reduce administrative costs by standardizing paperwork
  • Limit tax-sheltered flexible spending account contributions.
  • Sales tax will be charged on medical devices although many everyday items will be exempt.

In 2014 it will:

  • Prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or refusing to renew their policy
  • Creation of health insurance exchange programs
  • Provide income-based tax credits for most consumers receiving their coverage through the exchanges, further reducing their cost
  • Medicaid coverage expanded to cover up to 133% of the federal poverty line, or income of $29,327 for a family of four.
  • Require everyone to purchase health insurance or face a $695 annual fine. There are some exceptions for low-income people.
  • Penalty to employers with more than 50 workers if an employee gets their coverage through the exchange and receives a tax credit.

In 2018 it will impose a tax on employer-sponsored health insurance worth more than $10,200 for individual coverage or $27,500 for a family plan.

In 2020 the prescription coverage gap in the Medicare prescription benefit is totally phased out.