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New Health Care Law Hits Katy

It has been an interesting time for Katy residents as the Health Care and Reconciliation Act bills recently became law. Below is a list of provisions in the new legislation that all Katy residents should know.  The following items will be implemented throughout 2010. 

To be implemented immediately:

  • Employers with 50+ employees must provide breast feeding breaks to new mothers.
  • Small Business Tax Credit (for businesses with less than 50 employees) of up to 35% of employer’s contribution to health insurance. 
  • Medicare Part D rebate of $250 after you spend $2,830 in total drug spending to help fill the  “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug coverage.
  • Adoption Tax Credit and Adoption Assistance increase of $1,000.
  • Temporary credit to organizations for investing in new therapies to prevent, diagnose and treat acute and chronic diseases.
  • Tax relief for health care professionals who work in underserved or shortage areas and have state student loans.
  • Establishes a National Health Care Workforce Commission for Health Care professionals.
  • All new health plans must provide coverage for preventative care without co-pays.
  • Requires group health plans to cover dependent children up to 26 years old.
  • Requires Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to States to create health insurance consumer assistance to receive and respond to inquiries and complaints regarding health insurance coverage.
  • Requires better screening of health care providers to reduce fraud.
  • Creates a federal council to promote healthy policies.
  • Extends Medicare payment protections for small rural hospitals.
  • Establishes a private, non-profit institute to identify national priorities and provide for research to compare the effectiveness of health treatments and strategies.
  • Offers an option to allow States to cover parents and childless adults up to 133% of the poverty level.
  • Creates new requirements of non-profit hospitals.
  • Expands and improves low-interest student loan programs, scholarships and loan repayments for health students and professions.
  • Requires BCBS organizations to have a medical loss ratio of 85% or higher to receive special tax benefits.
  • Insurers cannot cancel policies to avoid paying medical bills if a person gets sick.
  • No more lifetime limits on benefits.
  • Creates a grant program to help the States in requiring health insurance companies to submit justification for all requested premium increases.

To be implemented July 1

  • Eligible people cannot be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  • Indoor Tanning Services will be taxed an additional 10%.
  • Creates a temporary reinsurance program that helps companies provide early retiree health benefits for those ages 55-64 to help with the expense of the coverage.
  • Requires the HHS to create a website for people and small businesses to find affordable state health insurance.  It will also give information regarding reinsurance for early retirees and small business tax credits.
  • Creates an investment fund for prevention and public health programs.

To be implemented by October 1

  • Insurance companies cannot cancel coverage when a person gets sick.
  • No lifetime limits on benefits.
  • Requires new group health plans to provide an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.
  • Children cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions in employer and individual plans. (Will be effective for all plans by 2014.)

My future posts will describe what the law provides from 2011 – 2020.

So how does this new law affect you and your family?  Are you happy about the new health care bill or does it cause you great concern.  Let me know what you think.  Email me at lmcland@mclandhr.com  I am running an unofficial survey and will publish the findings in a future blog.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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