What Is Obamacare?
On March 30, 2010 President Obama signed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as amended by The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. These two documents are commonly referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ‘obamacare’. The two most important purposes are:
- To increase the number of Americans with health insurance, and
- To ensure that health insurance satisfies certain minimum thresholds of coverage
Each Category Explains How Obamacare Affects You
- You Are Young: If you are under 26, your parent’s plan must allow your parent to add you to his or her policy, regardless of whether you live at home, attend school, or are married. As of January 2014 all health plans have to extend benefits to young adults even if they can get coverage at work. Children under 19 with pre-existing conditions can now not be denied coverage by most insurers.
- You Are Older, and on Medicare: If you are on Medicare now, you will most likely continue to be on Medicare. Some things in the area of wellness and preventative care that were previously not covered, will be covered.
- You Have A Pre-Existing Condition: Adults with pre-existing conditions who have been without coverage for at least six months may be eligible for supported coverage through the temporary Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan in their state.
- If You Are Going to Have a Lot of Medical Bills: Essential benefits have been expanded to include, among other things, psychiatric care, prescription services, maternity care, behavioral health services such as substance abuse services, pediatric eye and oral care.
- You Are a Business: The law does not require employers to offer health insurance to employees. UNLESS businesses have 50 or more employees and do not offer coverage, or that insurance coverage is too expensive, or does not meet minimum standards. In those cases, the employer may have to pay penalties.
- High Income Earners: Two new taxes that were set in 2013 will help fund the Medicare program that covers people over 65. These taxes apply only to income above $200,000 (individuals) and above $250,000 for couples who file jointly. For high income earners, there may be an extra payroll tax of 0.9% Medicare on wages over $200,000 (individuals) or $250,000 (family). There is also a new unearned income tax of 3.8 percent on unearned income, including investments, interest, and rent. The new tax does not apply to profits from the sale of your family home, except in rare cases.
What Obamacare Comes Down To
If you do not have health insurance and you choose not to purchase a health insurance policy you will soon face a large tax penalty that will eventually equal what you would have had to pay for the least expensive qualifying health insurance plans. For those that cannot afford health insurance on their own, subsidies are available to make the insurance plans affordable to all.
How Does Obamacare Impact Your Personal Injury Case?
The effect of the Obamacare on personal injury settlements will depend on the form of the Collateral Source Rule in effect any given state. The Collateral Source Rule prohibits the introduction of evidence regarding collateral payments received by the claimant in his suit for damages. Obamacare provides coverage for acute care, rather than chronic care. Therefore, home and community-based services, such as attendant care, home care, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes, would not be covered. It is likely that personal injury settlements will include a component for future medical care.
Call and speak with an attorney at Kamper & Simmons, LLP today to find out more about how this might impact your personal injury case.