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Jim Lentini: Health care reform impact on Americans

Posted: April 12, 2010 10:46 p.m.
Updated: April 13, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
The sweeping health care reform bill recently passed by Congress will likely have a significant impact on the medical insurance marketplace. And it will significantly impact all those who pay taxes and penalties for businesses.

As medical plans are amended to fit the new requirements, providers expect to see increased demand for critical illness and accident coverage. Remember, Medicare and health insurance does not pay for long-term care services. Medicaid only provides help after virtually all assets have been exhausted.

So what does this new bill, called the Class Act, mean for taxpaying Americans? At this time, we only know the basics of this new legislation and it will cost Americans a lot more taxes beginning next year, and will continue to increase as benefits, changes and requirements are implemented over the next eight years.

What will the impact be on our nation?

The basic bottom line that we know of the new legislation is that it will:
* Require most Americans to have health insurance;
* Subsidize private coverage for low and middle-income Americans;
* Require many employers to offer coverage to employees or pay a penalty;
* Set up a marketplace or exchange where consumers can shop for insurance meeting federal standards;
* Make it easier for Americans to purchase and maintain medical insurance coverage.

It will be interesting to see what will happen over the rest of the 2010 as a deficit-spending Congress attempts to control an industry that represents one-sixth of the GDP of our economy. And when have you ever seen the government run a business efficiently, effectively and as cost-effective as private industry?

Yes, we need to have government regulation to keep an equal playing field for all companies, fraud protection, malpractice coverage regulation for doctors and drug manufacture support for drug development to help reduce cost to the consumer.

Government can help to correct these factors of the industry which would reduce premiums considerably, if addressed properly. But then, I’m only a field underwriter, with 46 years of experience being an evaluator of plans, and a service broker for businesses and individuals. If I was an expert, I’d be in Congress.

Jim Lentini, CLU, ChFC, IAR is president of Lentini Insurance & Investments Inc. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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