After the shouting “against” and the cheers “for” the recent passage of healthcare reform dies down, we must eventually get down to recognizing it’s no longer just a debate to argue over, it’s the Law of the Land and must be compiled with. So what does it mean for those of us who make our living in the wall and ceiling industry?
If you are an employee who already has insurance, the law makes significant changes to improve your policy right away. Young adults will be able to remain on their parent’s polices until their 26th birthday; lifetime limits on benefits and annual caps will be prohibited, and; insurers will not be able to rescind policies to avoid paying medical bills.
By 2014, all citizens will be required to obtain coverage through their employer or individually; insurers can no longer refuse to sell or renew coverage due to pre-existing conditions or current health condition; insurers cannot charge higher rates due to individual health status or gender.
In 2018, the so-called “Cadillac” plans provided by employers will be subject to an excise tax. The annual premium amounts are currently set at $10,200 for an individual and $27,500 for a family, but who knows what premiums will look like in eight years and these numbers may be adjusted up or down.
Non-union employers who operate with more than 50 employees will be mandated to provide medical insurance for their personnel. If the company size is below 50, they will get some federal incentives to provide coverage by way of a tax credit.
Men and women who make a living in the trades will be protected, one way or another, from losing everything in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury. Their entire family will have coverage and no one will be denied because of their gender or health. Preventative “wellness” care will be free of co-pays.
The requirement helps to level the playing field between union and non-union contractors, and it raises the standard of living for those not currently working under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement.
How will these new benefit requirements affect your business and/or your family?