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Continued: 5 key points to know about the health care overhaul before major provisions of the law begin

  • Article by: AP BUSINESS WRITER
  • Last update: June 19, 2013 - 2:10 PM

These credits won't lower premiums, but they can ease the insurance bill depending on a person's income. For instance, a 30-year-old with an income of $30,000, who doesn't smoke or have kids, could receive a tax credit worth more than $900. That person might then have to pay $1,925 for insurance that would provide the minimum level of coverage required under the overhaul. That's according to a subsidy calculator designed by Kaiser and posted on the foundation's website at http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/ .

Starting next year, the ACA also will help individuals get coverage regardless of their health. Currently, if you already have a medical condition, insurers can either reject your application or charge a much higher price. Many people with heart trouble or diabetes are unable to find an insurer willing to cover them because of the risk they represent for future claims.

5. INSURANCE PRICES MAY CHANGE

Health insurers are warning that premiums, or the cost of coverage, could soar for some people due to a number of factors. Those include taxes and fees, as well as coverage requirements the law imposes.

The extent of any price hikes will depend on many variables, such as where people live, their current coverage and health and their age.

Young, healthy people who currently have low-cost coverage may see some of the biggest hikes in part because the law limits the price differences an insurer can charge a person based on age.

Insurers generally charge seniors more because they tend to generate more expensive claims.

The subsidies that individuals start receiving next year will help offset these price hikes. Most who gain coverage in the individual insurance market will have income levels low enough to qualify for some subsidy help, said Jennifer Tolbert, a health reform expert with Kaiser.

She said that will be especially true for the younger customers who may face the biggest price hikes.

About 149 million individuals have employer-sponsored health coverage in the United States, making it the largest source of coverage. Those who work for big companies may not see a lot of change, at least initially.

The law will add costs like premium taxes to the average worker's insurance bill. But the employer generally pays most of that bill, which means some employees may not notice the additional cost.

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