ghost2: (Default)
[personal profile] ghost2
I have basically no idea of what this new health-care legislation really means, except that in a few years I will required to pay for health insurance (I don't currently have any) and will be fined if I don't. I haven't yet seen a straightforward explanation of its benefits.

Date: 2010-03-24 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yep so in a few years when you go to a hospital have to have care and your too poor to pay for insurance and not poor enough for government insurance, not only do you get the hospital bill but you get fined.

What's next? Getting fined because we didn't follow preventative care measures to keep us from getting sick? The insanity has to stop somewhere!

Edited Date: 2010-03-24 11:54 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-03-25 12:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yep so in a few years when you go to a hospital have to have care and your too poor to pay for insurance and not poor enough for government insurance

You get fined a whole 95 bucks per year. Less than a traffic ticket. Plus even if you're not poor enough for Medicaid, the government insurance gets subsidized up until you make 400% of the poverty level. Federal poverty level is just under eleven thousand a year, so that would be a bit over forty thousand a year. I'm sorry, but if you're making forty thousand, you can probably afford a fine less than a hundred bucks.

(Also, if you're making forty thousand a year or more, it's pretty likely that you've got a job with insurance anyway. Unless you're self-employed and then you'll be getting the small business tax credits to buy insurance with.)

Date: 2010-03-25 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I thought the fine is going to be $695 a year, or 2.5% of income, whichever is more? Though I could well be wrong.

Pretty much every newspaper article/website I've looked at has been incredibly vague, or just plain confusing about the issue in general. I haven't decided how I feel about it, because I haven't seen any straightforward information.

Date: 2010-03-25 12:58 am (UTC)
nonelvis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
From the NYT article I linked to: "The penalty will be phased in, starting at $95 or 1 percent of income in 2014, whichever is higher, and rising to $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016. But families would not pay more than $2,085."

Date: 2010-03-25 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think it's $95 for the first year or two. It might go up. Hmm. Let me check.

*checks* Okay, we're both right. It's $95 for 2014-2015 and $695 from 2016 on. So I apologize a little for downplaying the severity of the fine.

Date: 2010-03-25 01:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No need to apologize! You're right about the initial size of the fine, and I doubt it will affect many people anyway after the first year or two. Who knows, maybe it will even be changed so the $695 never comes into being.

Date: 2010-03-25 01:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So you get a $95 fine yearly and that is it? There must be something more to that because then...why bother with insurance then if that's all you get slapped with?

Date: 2010-03-25 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Welllllllll... turns out that's sort of the starter fine. Later on it goes up to seven hundred bucks a year, but for the first couple years it's just under a hundred. Sorry about that. The lower number was the one that stuck in my head, not the higher.

HOWEVER. There will be a lot of things in this bill to, ah, encourage your employer to give you insurance. Or if you're self-employed there'll be tax credits to help you insure yourself. So it's so very not as bad as it sounds.

Date: 2010-03-25 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
encourage your employer to give you insurance

Most definately. NEVER put yourself in the government's care if you can help it. NEVER EVER EVER! As someone who had no choice but to go through the VA system more than once, IT SUCKS (the care and inconvenice of getting to a government facility) compared to private insurance.
Edited Date: 2010-03-25 01:26 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-03-25 01:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hope it works out so that no one is really stuck in that kind of situation.

Date: 2010-03-25 12:02 am (UTC)
ext_23738: donna noble (house: one two three little ducklings)
From: [identity profile]
I also know nothing as am not American, but what do you do today if you get sick? Pay the bill? Is it ridiculously expensive of just expensive or okay? Just avoid going to the hospital?

Date: 2010-03-25 12:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There's a lot of factors in answering your question. Generally speaking if one is living on a fixed income and you don't have insurance and you can't get government help, then you hope and pray that you never have to go to the hospital...ever. A hospital stay where I'm at for a day, can add up to $2000 plus which may or MAY NOT include the cost of the tests they run you through, and generally you have 30 days to pay your bill to remain in good standing with your credit score, etc, etc....

Date: 2010-03-25 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My method has been not go to to the hospital, which pretty much backfired when I developed a blood clot in my leg a few years back and didn't go for days. I didn't know it was a blood clot at first, of course. My leg finally hurt so much that I gave in and went for treatment. If I hadn't gone in, the clot eventually would have broken free and killed me. It cost a few thousand dollars for one night in the hospital, doctor bills, medicine, and follow-up appointments. Luckily, at the time, the hospital had financial aid that I qualified for. If not, I would have had to pay out of pocket and I didn't have that kind of cash.

Date: 2010-03-25 01:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Avoid going to the hospital if at all possible. Hope you're lucky enough to have a free clinic in the area for some things. Use over-the-counter medicine, home remedies and first aid.

When the hospital is not avoidable, you hope it's a bill you can pay. Since it's probably not likely it will be, you'll then go in debt to the hospital, which may ruin your credit score.

Date: 2010-03-25 03:04 am (UTC)
amaresu: Sapphire and Steel from the opening (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaresu
My health plan now is to not get sick and if I do, to wait and hope it gets better because I can't afford to go to the doctor. And if I could afford to see the doctor I then wouldn't be able to afford medication. So really the government would have to try really hard to make me worse off then I already am. Which it seems to be doing the opposite of, so that's a good thing.

Date: 2010-03-25 12:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, that's sort of the problem, isn't it? No one can say for sure what the consequences will be. It will be hardest for the people who have just enough money that they must buy insurance, but who make too much money to qualify for the subsidies.

I just visited my Dr. today, and he was ranting about all the problems it doesn't solve, and all the new problems it will create.

Date: 2010-03-25 12:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think the sad thing is, is that the government most likely won't change its attitude on income guidlines, and what it takes to 'live' in our current society, so there will a lot of people who will be living in the grey area. While there are some programs that help eliminate the 'greyness' it still does exist.

Date: 2010-03-25 01:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hope it doesn't turn out to be a big disaster. The present situation is bad enough.

Date: 2010-03-25 01:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My immediate concern is that he is seriously considering dropping Medicaid because the cuts are making it impossible for him to continue taking it. That would be devastating for my parents. He already told me that there are no orthopedic surgeons (his specialty) within a 15 mile radius (in one of the most densely populated areas of the country) that will accept the state subsidized programs. They just can't afford it.

Date: 2010-03-25 01:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, I'm so afraid on the number of physicans that will be affected by this bill and how it will affect them will be disgraceful.

Date: 2010-03-25 12:41 am (UTC)
nonelvis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nonelvis
I'll be the first to admit this isn't the bill I wanted -- I am firmly in favor of single-payer healthcare -- but the bill is definitely better than nothing. For example, insurers can no longer deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and they won't be allowed to cap benefits after the fact (as they would sometimes do when they simply got tired of paying for someone's care). These are both huge gains.

I can see why you'd be concerned about how it affects you financially. Here are some links that may help:

Washington Post's online tool to calculate what kind of coverage you'll need, and whether you can get assistance paying for it
NY Times' explanation of benefits/coverage
Another good explanation of benefits/coverage

Date: 2010-03-25 12:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll be the first to admit this isn't the bill I wanted -- I am firmly in favor of single-payer healthcare

I'm with nonelvis. Single payer would have been awesome. However, we got what we could and it's a firm foundation to build on. Social security sucked when it first got enacted too.

Date: 2010-03-25 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks, that information looks a lot more useful than the articles I'd seen before this. My local newspaper has been particularly awful on the subject.

Date: 2010-03-25 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Eh, probably not just your local paper. I don't know if it's changed in the last five years, but most of the local papers back home were crap when I left. You had to go to the Journal-Sentinel or the Wisconsin State Journal for any decent reporting.

Date: 2010-03-25 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Here are some of the benefits, some of which are going to take some months to get going:

1) Insurance providers can't kick people off their insurance if they get sick (which they did a lot.)

2) People can't be denied health care for pre-existing conditions (which happened all the time.)

3) Insurance providers can't put a lifetime or annual limit on what they'll cover.

4) You can stay on your parents' insurance until you're twenty-seven.

5) If you make up to fourteen thousand a year, you get Medicaid! (Or possibly the government plan.) Doesn't matter if you have kids or not. If you make between fourteen thousand and forty thousand, the government will subsidize all or part of the cost of the government health care plan.

6) The federal government is going fund community health centers to provide primary care, dental, and vision to people on a sliding fee scale.

And there's some other stuff, but this is what springs immediately to mind. There's a list of ones that kick in immediately here.
Edited Date: 2010-03-25 12:55 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-03-25 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks, that helps a lot. A couple of those points apply to me, and I see two that fit my mother's circumstances.


Date: 2010-03-25 01:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh! Also, it will require your employer to give you insurance (or pay an 8% surtax on your wages.)

Date: 2010-03-25 10:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It means well... I wish I could explain it. I was hoping we would be getting single payer health care but it looks like No.


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