Health Care Reform: Questions and Answers
Will my costs go up as a result of the law? continued...
People with preexisting medical conditions who currently pay high rates for their insurance coverage are likely to see their costs go down because insurers will no longer be able to charge them more for their medical condition.
And, Kofman points out that the law requires insurers to spend at least 80% of the premiums they collect on medical care. This summer, insurers will be returning money to nearly 13 million people who were overcharged for their coverage. "That alone has constrained premiums in many states," Kofman says.
There are other aspects of the law as well, according to Kofman, designed to keep premiums stable so consumers don't experience a huge jump in prices.
What happens to my under-26-year-old child who is currently on my health insurance plan?
The provision of the Affordable Care Act that allows adult children to stay on their parents' health plan until their 26th birthday does not change as a result of the Supreme Court's ruling. Your child can continue to gain coverage through you.
Will small business employers be required to provide health insurance, or can they force employees to go buy their own?
Starting by 2014, businesses that employ 100 or fewer workers will be able to buy insurance through an insurance marketplace, or exchange. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the insurance small businesses buy through an exchange "would have lower administrative costs, on average, than the policies those firms would buy under current law, particularly for very small firms."
Also keep in mind that if you run a small business that employs fewer than 25 workers earning less than $50,000 a year, and you pay for at least half of your employees' health insurance costs, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35%. Starting in 2014, those credits increase to 50%.
What about illegal immigrants?
Insurance coverage will not be extended to people who are in this country illegally. And there will be mechanisms by which states will be able to verify the lawful status of someone applying for insurance coverage through one of the exchanges. "There will be a pretty vigorous process to go through to make sure coverage is only being offered to people here legally," Kofman says.