26 March 2010

Good News: How New Health Care Law Affects You, Marines Rescue Tangled Seal

From Denny: If you are an animal lover like me, you will appreciate what a couple of Marines did recently for a stranded seal. He was entangled in a floating piece of debris and could not free himself. The poor animal must have been quite frustrated and very hungry as he had been imprisoned since last week. Well, the Marines to the rescue. Watch as they work to free the frightened animal and almost get bitten. Then they "high five" their successful efforts in another day, another job done. :) Definitely one of those feel good news clips to enjoy.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

CBS had a couple of really good articles to educate the public about the latest way health care might impact us. These are excerpts. For more details or the full stories, just click on the title link for that story:

Reform Won't Change Insurers' Profits Much
: (CBS) User's Guide to Health Reform: Despite New Taxes, Regulations on Insurance Companies, New Clients Will Keep Profits High. The insurance industry that was demonized in the health care debate faces a flood of new customers and tight new regulations, but when it comes to their bottom lines, it appears little will change, reports CBS News Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian.

up to 20 million new customers but will be required to:

• spend at least 80 to 85 cents of every dollar it takes in on health care
• eliminate lifetime limits on coverage and restrict annual limits
• pay at least $70 billion in new taxes beginning in 2014
• sell insurance through state-run exchanges, making purchasing more affordable for individuals

In addition, insurers will be prohibited from:

• charging older Americans more than three times what they charge the young
• canceling policies when people get sick
• perhaps most importantly, beginning in 2014, insurers will no longer be allowed to exclude the 12.6 million adults with pre-existing conditions

... Industry leaders expressed concern about the bill, charging it does little to improve quality or contain the soaring cost of health care, which has increased 131 percent for families in the last decade, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Uninsured? What the New Bill Means for You: (CBS) A User's Guide to Heath Care Reform - 32 Million More Americans to be Covered by 2019.

Under the health care bill, most Americans are now required to have health insurance. The government will help people pay for it by expanding Medicaid programs to include families making less than $29,000 - and singles making less than $14,400 per year.

To make their insurance more affordable, families making less than $88,000 a year will have their monthly premiums capped at anywhere from 2 to 9.5 percent of their income. Right now there is no cap. And a significant change - young adults can now stay on their parents' coverage until age 26.

In exchange for the help, those who refuse to buy health insurance will pay an annual penalty of $95 in 2014.

Finally, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. For adults that rule begins in 2014. For children, it goes into effect six months after the bill is signed.

Already Insured? Get Ready to Pay More: (CBS) A User's Guide to Heath Care Reform - If You Make More Money, You'll Pay More Money. For most Americans insured through work, health care coverage is expected to stay the same -- or improve. No lifetime caps. No denial of benefits if people get sick. And continued coverage if you lose or change jobs.

But premiums will continue to rise. How much? No one's certain. To pay for this sweeping reform, here's what will change: Those tax-free flexible spending accounts will be cut in half. They reimburse some medical bills not covered by insurance. The new cap: $2,500.

Starting in 2013, individuals earning more than $200,000 a year - and families earning more than $250,000 - will pay almost one percent more on their Medicare payroll tax. For a family earning $500,000 it means an extra $2,250 a year.

Those same high-earners will face an extra 3.8 percent Medicare tax on their net investment income.

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