CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA - The House passed a sweeping health care reform bill. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is 2,500 pages, and contains lots of political jargon. Most of the affects won't begin until 2014, but starting soon you may see some changes to your medical coverage.
Starting as soon as President Obama signs the bill into law, Medicare recipients who have a gap in their prescription drug coverage called, "The Doughnut Hole" will be eligible for a $250 rebate.
Starting in three months, if you've been denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, you will be eligible for federal money to but insurance.
Starting in six months, insurance companies won't be able to terminate the policies of people who fall ill. Children with pre-existing conditions can't be turned away. There will be no more lifetime limits on medical coverage. Grown children will also be able to stay on their parents' insurance plan until age 26.
In 2013, wealthy families earning over $250,000 a year will get a 4% tax hike on their investment income and have to pay more for Medicare. Medicaid will then start covering a family of four that earns less than $29,000 a year. And companies with more than 50 workers will face fines if they don't provide health insurance to their workers.
Then people who don't have insurance and don't qualify for Medicaid or Medicare will be required to buy coverage. Insurance premiums will be a percentage of your income.
The federal government will cover insurance expenses for people who either can't afford it or if the cheapest available plan would cost more than 8% of his or her income.
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