Health Care Bill: What Does It Mean for You?

If the Senate passes the "fixes" that the House of Representatives has proposed, as it plans to, there will also be a new tax on high-cost insurance plans, called the "Cadillac tax," which employers will have to pay. Insurance plans with a premium of $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families would be subject to a 40 percent tax. Many say such high-value, generous insurance packages that include luxuries such as no co-payments and deductibles are responsible for increasing costs in the industry, but many labor union members and teachers negotiate such plans in exchange for lower pay.

Companies in the medical industry will also be subject to higher taxes, including insurers, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers.

However, there are a wide array of tax incentives for small businesses to provide insurance to their employees.

Mandatory Insurance:

By 2014, most Americans would be required to have health insurance or pay a fine, with the exception of low-income Americans. Small businesses, high-risk patients and the uninsured would have the option of shopping for coverage in health insurance exchanges, a marketplace in which people could shop for and compare insurance plans.

Employers would also be required to provide coverage to their workers, or pay a fine of $2,000 per worker. Companies with fewer than 50 employees, however, are exempt from this rule.

Medicaid:

The bill greatly expands Medicaid and subsidies to low-income Americans. Those who are at 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $29,327 for a family of four, would be eligible for Medicaid, starting in 2014.

Also in 2014, adults who don't have children would be eligible for such benefits that have traditionally only been given to households with children.

Louisiana specifically will receive an expansion of $300 million in Medicare funding from the federal government by 2011.

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