Businesses and individuals grapple with decisions about coverage, penalties

News organizations preview what's to come in 2013 as provisions of the Affordable Care Act are put in place.

Kaiser Health News: Health Care Predictions For A New Year (Video)
KHN reporters preview some of the big issues coming this year: The fight over controlling spending and what it means for Medicare; state decisions on health law implementation; and changing how hospitals and doctors are paid (1/1).

Politico Pro: The Year Ahead In Health Care: What To Watch In 2013
This year, the Obama administration will have to guide the states through set-up of the exchanges -; or, in many states, set them up entirely on its own. The law will have to withstand at least some level of rate shock as insurers adjust to new coverage requirements. And with deficit reduction sure to be a hot topic this year, the health law may have to withstand new attempts to dip into its funding (Haberkorn, 1/2).

NPR: What The Health Law Will Bring In 2013 
Most of the really big changes made by the 2010 health law don't start for another year. ... But Jan. 1, 2013, will nevertheless mark some major changes. One of those changes that will affect everyone with private health insurance actually took effect last September. But most people won't see it until they renew or apply for new health insurance. It's called a summary of benefits and coverage. The idea is to help people actually understand what's in their insurance policies (Rovner, 1/1).

McClatchy: New Year Means Tax Increases To Pay For Health Care Law
Five new tax increases take effect on Jan. 1 to help pay for the nation's health care overhaul. New provisions of the Affordable Care Act require affluent taxpayers to pay more for Medicare and, for the first time, have their investment income subject to Medicare taxes as well. Also, people who use flexible spending accounts for health care expenses will pay higher taxes. And taxpayers who spend a lot out of pocket on their health care will find it harder to deduct those expenses from their taxable income (Pugh, 12/31).

The Wall Street Journal: Companies Prepare For Health Law
One of the biggest decisions for many companies this year will be what to do about their health benefits. They have just 12 months before the major provisions of the federal overhaul law take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, reshaping health coverage in the U.S. Employers with at least 50 workers will owe penalties if they don't cover full-time employees. Most Americans will face a parallel "individual mandate" to obtain insurance. And new online marketplaces called exchanges will sell insurance plans in each state, paired with federal subsidies for lower-income people (Mathews, 1/1).

The Wall Street Journal: Under Health Law, Employers Must Insure Workers' Dependents
Large employers who are subject to the health overhaul law's requirement to provide insurance or pay a fee must also extend coverage to their workers' dependent children, according to federal regulations released Friday. The 144-page proposed regulation that the Obama administration unveiled late Friday offered new details for how employers will have to comply with the health overhaul law (Adamy, 12/28).

CBS (Video): Businesses Begin Bracing For The Affordable Care Act
The new legislation will require businesses with 50 or more workers to provide affordable health care for their employees starting in 2014 or pay a penalty of up to $2,000 per worker. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees -- that's 96 percent of all companies, will be exempt. They won't have to do anything. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a health policy advisor to the White House who helped develop the new plan, said the cost to businesses is a "real concern" (Mason, 1/1).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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