“Real World” Personal Strategy Blog

Health Care Reform will affect you like this

What is once well done is done forever. 
– Henry David Thoreau

Well, as promised, I’m breaking down the new Health Care legislation in this week’s blog post. Polls show that this legislation isn’t popular–but it’s now the law of the land, so we all should get used to it.

Families WILL be affected by it, and it’s a good thing that you and I are connected–we’ll walk you through how it impacts you, both today and in the future. You’ve got an ace in the hole which other families don’t have.

Oh, and I should also say–less than ten days remaining in tax season. If you haven’t yet touched base with us, please do so ASAP. We want to help you in any way possible, even at this late date.

“Real World” Personal Strategy
Two Years of Health Care Reform In Plain Language
Look, this bill is over 2,000 pages long, so this cannot be an exhaustive breakdown … but this is a start. Let me know if you have any questions!

Because many of the pertinent provisions don’t take effect for a few years, here are the ones which you should know about NOW. As things progress, we’ll keep you updated. Frankly–these things often change, and there’s no telling what the political landscape will look like.

So, I thought it most useful to not clutter your mind with items which won’t take effect beyond the next two years.

Starting this year…
• CREDIT: Small businesses with up to 25 employees earning $40,000/year or less will get a tax credit for 35% of the cost of providing health benefits to their employees. 
• NEW TAX: Staring on July 1st, there’s a 10% tax on indoor tanning (of all things).

Insurance changes…
• Children with pre-existing conditions will have to be covered, and those up to age 26 may now stay on parental plans.
• No more lifetime limits on coverage 
• Certain Medicare Part D participants will get rebates and discounts on prescription drug coverage. 

Next year…
NEW PROCEDURES: Employers will have to report the value of health benefits they provide employees on tax forms — they will face penalties if they don’t provide that information. 

A few other pertinent items for you:
Health savings accounts will have increased penalties for non-medical withdrawals (starting in 2011). The current 10% penalty is doubled to 20% for any withdrawal or distribution made for non-medical expenses. Similarly, the penalty for non-qualifying distributions on Archer medical savings accounts raises from 15% to 20%.

Adoption tax credit increases to $13,170 and is extended through the year 2011. Also, the adoption credit is now refundable (which means–it will be issued as a check if adoption expenses don’t match it).

Again, we’ll keep you in the loop as things develop, and with plenty of time to be prepared for future changes and provisions.

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