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For anyone who has not been hiding under a rock for the last few months, you know all about the proposed health care reform bill that has been in the works. With the health bill passing through congress, it is time to take a hard look at some of the most important details. Health insurance reform has been something similar to Big Foot over the last few months, in that many people have spoken about it, but few have taken the time to digest it and learn its ins and outs. The following will serve as something of a health care reform bill summary for those who don't quite understand what's going on.


1. Will I be forced to buy insurance under the new health care bill?
When most people consider the health care reform bill pros and cons, one of the things that they bring up is the fact that people will be forced to buy insurance if they don't already have it. This is only partly true, as current health insurance reform will not force you to purchase insurance right now. If you are not insured through an employer or you have no family health insurance plan, then the health care reform bill may require you to purchase a plan by 2014. This is one of the most important aspects of the health care reform bill summary 2010. You don't have to go out and get insurance right away, as there is a grace period attached.

2. What does the health care bill say for people who can't afford insurance?

One of the biggest concerns has been over what people will do if they don't have the money to go out and buy an expensive health care plan. When you study the health care reform bill pros and cons, you will see that people who are living under the poverty line do not have to go out and purchase insurance by 2014. They are exempt from the rules. Additionally, people that make between 100% and 400% above the poverty line can receive credits to help them pay for the insurance. This is the new health plan's way of making sure that everyone has a means of getting on board, even if they aren't doing well financially.

3. What if I already have health insurance?
This health plan grandfathers in old plans, which is a definite positive for those people who already have an insurance plan. Under the current health plan, you will not have to go out and purchase anything new. Though you will not be able to modify your plan or change things up nearly as easily, you are free to stick with your current level of coverage and your current provider under this health care reform bill. This is one of the single most important things to take from any health care reform bill summary in 2010 that you read.

4. Do employers have to provide insurance?
That really depends upon how many employees they have in their company. It is also true that under this health insurance reform, no business has to do anything. They are strongly encouraged to do it by the large fine that the reform bill has put into place. The current reform bill requires businesses that have more than 50 employees to provide health insurance for their employees. Those small businesses that fall under this threshold do not have any obligation to provide health insurance, though the health bill provides some help for them if they would like to. At current time, the health bill charges large companies $750 per employee if they do not provide health insurance, which all but guarantees that they will provide coverage.

5. How do small businesses purchase health care plans?
When it comes to purchasing health care, large businesses have always had an advantage, since they can pool their power and negotiate for better deals. This health care reform bill seeks to give some of that power to the small businesses out there, as well. As many as five small businesses can come together to negotiate for better rates under this health care reform bill, which should help them meet the new conditions as they are required to provide coverage.

6. Where does Medicare go?
One of the keys of the health care reform bill summary is to know that Medicare is still going to be alive and kicking. The government made Medicare one of its focuses of healthcare reform this time around. They intend to pay for at least some of the costs of healthcare reform by cleaning up Medicare and making it a more efficient program. A government committee is a part of healthcare reform and will be assigned to cleaning up waste and taking fraud out of the current Medicare system. These savings should help to pay for the program to some extent.

7. Will I have to purchase from an exchange?
This health care reform bill summary should mention the exchange system, since it is such an important part of the process. Some of the health care reform bill pros and cons have to do with the exchange system. People who are not a part of employer-based healthcare would need to buy their plans from a state-based exchange. This health reform program makes sure that the plans purchased at an exchange meet all of the government regulations. The idea here is to create a state-run marketplace, where individual health insurance consumers can come together to shop for insurance at competitive rates. Additionally, this is meant to provide bargaining power for individuals, as they had previously been forced to pay high rates as a result of their lack of leverage. Consumers can band together in a competitive environment to demand rates that are more suitable.

8. What things will the government mandate from insurance providers?
One of the keys to the current health reform is that insurers are going to be required to maintain a certain level of care. They will have minimum benefits that are required, which might force some of the premium prices up. The government has not set a ceiling on benefits with this health reform program, so people can still get luxury healthcare plans if they see fit. The key to the health care bill is basically seeing that everyone is protected as much as possible.

9. What about my pre-existing conditions?
No health care reform bill summary in 2010 would be complete without mentioning pre-existing conditions. The health insurance reform plan puts restrictions on how insurers can deal with these conditions. In this health care reform bill summary 2010, we have learned that the new health insurance reform stops insurers from withholding coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions. Though they can modify their plans and change about pricing options, insurers must still provide coverage to people who currently have illnesses or conditions.