Pin It
Favorite

Health Care: What Now? 

click to enlarge art18682.jpg

First, the Affordable Care Act was at the mercy of the U.S. Supreme Court. Then it was left up to a drawn-out presidential race, as Mitt Romney promised he’d repeal it. Now, it’s clear that reform will go forward, and states are expected to make that happen — whether they’re ready or not.

The good news: Washington looks poised to meet federal requirements by 2014. The state Legislature passed laws to start creating an insurance exchange (an online marketplace where people will shop for plans), and it could be available by next October. State exchanges are meant to give residents an easy system for buying insurance and states authority over the providers.

The bad news: Things have been rockier in Idaho, where even Republican attempts to build a state-run exchange didn’t survive the Obamacare-loathing state Legislature. The Idaho Department of Insurance recommended almost a year ago that the state get started on an exchange, but lawmakers didn’t act. Last month, a working group summoned by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter came to the same conclusion. With no action by Dec. 14, a federal exchange will take hold. The insurance department warns that could make plans more expensive because the federal government will require more benefits than the state would. If Otter finally decides on a state exchange, Idaho is behind on planning and implementation, and it’s unclear whether they can get it done by 2014.

The cost: Between grants to local governments, employers and community organizations, the feds have spent about $415 million on Washington and $91.5 million on Idaho to help them prepare for reform, according to nonprofit health research group the Kaiser Family Foundation.

What it means for you: Starting in 2014, you’ll be required to have insurance privately or through your employer, according to the law. If you’re uninsured and making $44,600 a year or less, you’ll be eligible for tax credits to help pay for coverage. Make $15,000 or less, and you’ll qualify for Medicaid (expansion is optional for states, but Washington says it will comply and Idaho’s working group recommended the same.) Not into it? The penalty for not having insurance starts in 2014 at $95 per adult or 1 percent of family income (whichever is greater). By 2016, it’ll be $695 or 2.5 percent.

— HEIDI GROOVER

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Rich Man, Poor Men
  • Rich Man, Poor Men

    Can the wealthiest U.S. president ever help the poorest U.S. citizens?
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • La Resistance
  • La Resistance

    Michael Moore, Congressional Democrats and local progressives: How they are resisting Donald Trump's agenda
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Must-See TV?
  • Must-See TV?

    Alternatives to the inauguration (and how to make watching more fun if you have to)
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Coil Bellydance Classes

Coil Bellydance Classes @ Washington Cracker Co. Building

Tuesdays, 7:15-8:15 p.m. Continues through Feb. 28

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Heidi Groover

  • Brachytherapy Breakthrough
  • Brachytherapy Breakthrough

    A new option for treating skin cancer skips the scalpel
    • Dec 1, 2014
  • It's Exploding
  • It's Exploding

    Why lawmakers and cops are worried about people blowing themselves up
    • Nov 25, 2014
  • GU Shake-Up
  • GU Shake-Up

    The woman overseeing reports of sexual assault at Gonzaga resigns; plus, a new study on Lakeland Village
    • Nov 25, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • The Landed and the White

    How Americans followed tradition when they voted for Trump
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Comment


Briefs


marijuana


green zone


Politics


Readers also liked…

  • Running Dry
  • Running Dry

    How Wild Waters slid from the top water park in the Inland Northwest to an abandoned ruin
    • Jun 24, 2015
  • Showing Their Side
  • Showing Their Side

    Inside the Dakota pipeline protests
    • Oct 6, 2016

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation