Unless you’ve been in a hyperbaric chamber or on a wilderness expedition the last few days, you know by now that the health care bill passed the House. If you’re like me, you’ve gotten your fill of the topic already. In fact, when I searched “health care bill” on Google, I got 107 million hits. Seriously.
Since it’s been hashed and rehashed ad nauseam in the mainstream media, I don’t want to go over every detail here. Instead, I want to relay the basics on what it means to seniors.
According to a CNN.com article, here are some key items concerning seniors and health care:
- $70 billion: The portion of the $143 billion in deficit reduction that comes from premiums to be collected as part of a new government-run, long-term care program for the elderly. These premiums eventually will be paid out in the form of benefits.
- Doughnut hole: The Medicare prescription drug “doughnut hole” would be closed by 2020. Under current law, Medicare stops covering drug costs after a plan and beneficiary have spent more than $2,830 on prescription drugs. It starts paying again after an individual’s out-of-pocket expenses exceed $4,550.
- Medicare tax: A 3.8 percent Medicare tax would be imposed on investment income for individuals making over $200,000 and couples making over $250,000.
- Pre-existing conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
- 0.9 percent: Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) tax rate would be increased by 0.9 percent, to 2.35 percent.
- Medicare Advantage reduction: Government payments to Medicare Advantage would be reduced by $132 billion over 10 years.
In another article, The Christian Science Monitor released an item titled “Health care reform bill 101: What does it mean for seniors?” According to the article, “ some seniors may lose Medicare benefits they now enjoy. Many others will gain from an enhancement of Medicare’s prescription-drug program.”