Health Care Reform is certainly a 2009 item: just how much reform is unclear and who it will impact even more so. That said, however, President Obama announced that we will see some legislation by July 31st, enabling the uninsured a viable means by which to purchase health insurance.
On May 11th, I met with members of the health care staff from Senator Wyden’s (D. OR) office in Washington to discuss the Healthy Americans Act bill authored by Sen. Wyden. That Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee held a meeting to outline a description of the various policy options proposed to expand health care coverage so that affordable coverage could be provided to all Americans. While the following options were offered for discussion purposes, which remain as part of the final bill will depend on a variety of issues. Proposals include:
- Adjusted rules for small businesses (as few as 2-10 employees, also known as micro- groups) enabling all employees to participate in affordable healthcare care;
- Significant changes to Medicare, with a possible expansion for a “buy in” for the age 55-64 retiree;
- The establishment of a Health Insurance Exchange;
- A personal coverage requirement;
- Incentives to enroll in a wellness and preventative program to reduce individual and Medicare costs.
This is merely a sampling of some of the options in front of the senate. Most of the proposed options won’t be effective until 2013.
Regardless of what passes and when, individuals must still consider health care in their financial plans. Unequivocally, they will be responsible for their own health insurance and family care. Be sure that as a wealth manager, you have the ability to evaluate health care plans and incorporate their costs to cash flow requirements. As an employer, it is critical that your employees have the tools to manage and understand the health care alternatives you provide.
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