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Obamacare: What's in it for Me?

The recent changes in the health care industry in U.S. have many wondering what’s in it for them. Sunny Sethi explains.

Congress Party general secretary Rahul Gandhi

The Good: Since the very beginning of President Obama’s term, fixing the broken health care system was a high priority for his administration. On March 23, 2010 he signed a bill into law that could potentially change the way the health services are delivered in the U.S. There is a lot of confusion in the market as no one really understands the full scope of the bill, things keep changing in Washington almost on a weekly basis and people like me who make living in the health care industry are not sure what the future really holds for us.

Here’s an explanation in simple words so it makes some sense.

Graduating Students: The job market is tough for the new college graduates. Earlier, you had to be a full time student if you wanted to stay on your parents plan after age 19. Also, you could only stay on their plan till age 24. With new reform, an adult child can stay on the parent’s plan till they turn 26-years-old, irrespective of whether they are full time student or not. That should provide some relief to many families as their children leave college and hunt for jobs in a tight market.
Rescinding Coverage: Insurance industry announced that companies would honor a new ban on canceling the coverage of sick policyholders. Many insurance companies were blamed that they canceled coverage for sick policyholders. Even if the change is designed to improve reputation, it is another indication that reform is taking hold and benefiting Americans.

Preventive Care (Annual Physical): All insurance companies now are required to offer the preventive services i.e. annual physical exams and tests related to the physical such as glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol screening at no cost to the insured. Be careful though as some employers are allowed to opt out of some of these benefits so please check with your employer.

Guaranteed Child Only Coverage: Children cannot be denied coverage any more. In the past, children suffering from pre-existing conditions were not able to get coverage in the individual market. This left children really venerable and often they had to use the government plans or visit emergency rooms as uninsured patients. Starting October 23, 2010, a child applying for coverage cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, for adults this law does not go into effect till 2014.

California Pre-Existing Coverage Plan: The State of California has established a pre-existing coverage insurance plan (PCIP). The plan caters to adults that have pre-existing conditions and cannot get coverage elsewhere.

Small Business Health Tax Credit: Employers with fewer than 25 workers and an average salary of less than $50,000 can receive up to 35% in tax credits. But some small employers say they are reluctant to offer coverage because they fear the law might be changed.

Some of you reading this might be thinking that it all sounds good but what’s bad about this law? How does it affect my taxes or how does it affect the already struggling economy of this country? All are fair questions; unfortunately the answers will be quite disappointing. I will talk about the bad in the next month’s issue.

Sunny Sethi is an insurance professional and is based in Santa Clara, Calif. He can be reached via email at sunny@matrixia.com.


Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

42 Years, And Waiting:
India Against Corruption

An unprecedented anti-corruption fire has engulfed India as veteran Gandhian activist Anna Hazare sits on hunger strike for thirteen days in a row, write Priyanka Bhardwaj and Sanjeev Tulsian.

Challenges, Opportunities:
Defense Production Policy

With the recent security concerns, India has embarked on a grand scheme of defense modernization, write Bharath Gopalaswamy and Guy Ben-Ari.

My Films Reflect My Life:
Aniruddha Roy Choudhury

Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury was in the Bay Area shooting his third film Aparajita Tumi. Nandini Pal talked with him about his creative stimuli.

EDITORIAL: India Against Corruption
SUBCONTINENT: Pretty and Powerful
PHOTO ESSAY: India’s Independence Day
HEALTHCARE: Obamacare Explained
COMMUNITY: 10 Years After 9/11
COMMUNITY: Janamashtami Celebrations
RECIPE: Orange Chicken
TRAVEL: Art Exhibits at SFMOMA
AUTO REVIEW: 2011 Toyota Corolla LE
BOLLYWOOD: Film Review: 'I Am Kalam'
HOROSCOPE: September

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