It’s difficult to imagine that health care reform is on vacation. The future of the public plan, employer sponsored health insurance, and Medicare overhaul are just a few of the many issues that are front and center in the media. Although we read and hear that overall Congress is making progress towards a new health care system, we also know that the House itself doesn’t agree on its own bill, and the Senate has not yet produced a comprehensive bill. It is highly unlikely that all members of the House and Senate have read the 1,018 page House bill in its entirety, and town hall meetings have showcased public outrage at the impact some of the proposed reform may have on many Americans.
It’s hard to predict how health care will look in the future. It does seem, however, that whatever shape a new system takes, individuals will continue to be responsible for securing health insurance for themselves and their families. Planning for care for family members and other dependents will remain a critical component of any financial plan. It is not realistic to think that health care reform will change the responsibilities individuals have for health insurance and future health care expenses.
Furthermore, many components of the various bills, if enacted, would not take effect until 2013. Even if some form of legislation is passed this year, it will not impact most plans for the foreseeable future, if at all. What this means is that it is essential that individuals review their health care plans with a keen eye towards addressing potential expenses now and in the near term.
As an employer, consider the confusion that health care reform poses for employees. Including a simple analysis in your suite of employee benefits can assist your HR department in dealing with the inevitable questions that will arise as the health reform debate continues. As a wealth manager, incorporating health care planning into an overall financial plan will only become more important.
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