YOU ASK:

Will the deductibles and co-payments increase under the new healthcare plan?

WE ANSWER:

The aim of the new healthcare plan is to make insurance coverage more affordable and available to more people. So, increases in out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays and deductibles are very unlikely.

In fact, the new healthcare plan specifies that you only pay no more than a specified percentage of what you earn on your health care coverage. This is especially for those who have health insurance provided by their employer, but who find that deductibles and co-payments are quite heavy on their budget.

There are also subsidies for eligible participants so that co-pays and deductibles are further decreased. Also, beginning September 2010, insurance plans are required to include preventive services. These include vaccination services and regular check-ups. There will be no co-pays or deductibles with these services offered under Medicare.

Now, for plans that have been grandfathered, you don't have to fear increases in co-payments and deductibles. Grandfathered plans are existing plans (usually employer-sponsored) that get to keep their policy provisions provided that they comply with certain rules and regulations. Grandfathered plans will also delay the implementation of some of the bill's requirements.

These plans prohibit changes such as increasing out-of-pocket costs to the insured. If the plan would increase deductibles and co-payments, they will lose their grandfathered status and as such will be subject to the more stringent and comprehensive requirements of the healthcare reform bill. Thus, employers have the incentive of keeping their employees' deductibles and co-payments since it will be cost-effective to keep their grandfathered status. If you have your insurance from your employer, check to see whether your plan is grandfathered.

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