What health care ruling means to you
As a result of the Supreme Court's decision, the individual mandate stands, and insurance companies will be required to sell coverage to everyone, regardless of medical history.
This post comes from Louise Radnofsky at partner site The Wall Street Journal.
The Supreme Court said Congress was acting within its powers under the Constitution when it required most Americans to carry health insurance or pay a penalty. It upheld the mandate as a tax, in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts.
But the justices found fault with part of the health care law's expansion of Medicaid, a joint federal-state insurance program for the poor. The justices made some changes to the Medicaid portion of the law. (Post continues below.)
Q: Does this mean the health overhaul law is in place for good?
A: The decision effectively upholds the law for now, but its future depends on which party controls the White House and Congress after elections in November. President Barack Obama and most Democrats consider the law a signature achievement and want to move forward implementing it. Republicans, including presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have pledged to overturn it. They say they would offer an alternative proposal but haven't been specific about what it would include.
Q: What happens to any benefits I already get because of the law?
A: They will stay in place for now. Parents will still be able to keep their children on their insurance plans up to age 26, and Medicare recipients will keep getting discounts on prescription drugs to close a gap in coverage known as the "doughnut hole." New levies under the law, such as the 10% tax on tanning services, also stay put.
Q: When will I see the big changes from the law?
A: Most of the mandates don't start until 2014. That is when most Americans will be required to carry insurance or pay the penalty at issue in the Supreme Court case. The penalty will start at $95 a year or up to 1% of a person's income, whichever is greater.
Tens of millions of Americans are expected to get insurance coverage under the system that starts in 2014. Some of the poorest Americans will become newly qualified to enroll in the federal-state Medicaid program -- although the court appeared to make some changes to how that program will work. Another batch of people who earn more but still have low incomes will get tax credits to offset their insurance costs. Consumers will be able to comparison shop for policies in newly created exchanges that will operate like popular online travel websites.
Insurance companies will have to sell coverage to everyone, regardless of their medical history, and will have to restrict how much they vary premiums based on age. Companies with 50 workers or more will be required to offer insurance to their workers or pay a penalty.
Q: What if I already have insurance?
A: You may see changes to your plan. Unless your employer has "grandfathered" your insurance benefits' structure, your plan will have to meet new regulations under the law, such as covering more preventive services without out-of-pocket costs. There has been speculation that some employers will stop offering coverage and funnel workers toward exchanges once they open, but most companies say they have no immediate plans to do that.
Q: What will happen to my insurance premiums?
A: Most consumers can expect to keep seeing increases in premiums and co-payments because the underlying cost of health care is expected to rise. The law contains a few mechanisms to curb premiums, but it also requires that many insurance providers make their benefits more generous, which will raise their cost. Older people could see their premiums go down because of the new age rating rules insurers will face. People who buy policies without the help of an employer could get a better deal by being able to shop on the exchanges, where comparing plans will be easier than before.
More from The Wall Street Journal and MSN Money:
Get ready to stand in line at the doctors office for hours (still may not see a doctor and you have to come back tomorrow) and book a stay in your hospital several months in advance like you would a hotel.
Mark these words..it will happen. Just give it a couple of years....if the law stands as is.
I don't see anything wrong with asking people to pay for services they are currently receiving for free. Right now anyone can just stroll into their local hospital and get treated. The bill goes unpaid and the cost of healthcare is passed on to us all. Increasing our insurance premiums or increasing hospital charges to cover the poor or irresponsible.
Now people have to get insurance to cover themselves. So what! How unAmerican is that??!!
I dont want to pay more for my healthcare services to cover those without insurance. So pay up just like I do every pay period.
Obama is the first president actually trying to change this crappy healthcare system!! This crappy immigration system, the student loan mess, and housing crisis. Other people have been rich spoon fed people that dont even understand what is wrong with this system... they just want to continue giving tax breaks to the super wealthy.. and keep oil flowing... regardless of how we have to go to war with to get it!
Liberals...pause your stupid celebrations and think with your financial brain.
Is it not right to have people pay their own way in his world? you want a better place to live? Pay for it. You want a better pair of shoes? Pay for them.
So it follows that all should pay their own way. Including healthcare recipiants, prisoners, welfare recipiants, everybody.
Yes, prisoners should help pay for their own cost of incarceration. They rack up a bll, when they get out start to pay it back. Just like college. Health care recipiants who use medical services that create a bill, then thye should get on a re-payment plan and work towards paying it off. People on welfare should be drug tested and positively ID with a retinal scan, then do some sort of [governmet] work, or get more education to help pay back their debt.
Big government should never be the crutch that it is today for people.
Immigration? Close all borders. Deport all illegals. Everybody get in line if you wat to legally get into this country. Never give money or servces to people who come here illegally. Law enforcement should be able to ask anyone for their passport/ID/documents at anytime.
I'm just glad that states have an out for the medicaid-increase debacle. That should be priority number one, ie making everyone, including medicaid recipients, pay at least something toward health care. That is if we want a universal system to actually work and be solvent.
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