YOU ASK:

Will the reform law give me freedom on which health plan to choose?

WE ANSWER:

Absolutely.

In fact, you will find that you have more freedom than before. You will have access to more comprehensive insurance plans, as well as increased consumer protection. Now, if you like the plan you already have, you will also be allowed to keep the plan.

The healthcare reform will in no way interfere with the kind of plans you choose. You will get to keep your plan if you choose to. For employer-sponsored health insurance plans, virtually nothing will change, especially if these plans resulted from collective bargaining agreements between the employer and the employees.

The disadvantage, however, of sticking with your old plan is that these will most likely not be up to the higher benefit offerings that will be available through the new plans. You see, the bill will add more benefits and advantages to new plans that are not usually offered by the old plans. For one, the new plans will have additional preventive services with no additional premiums charged. These preventive services will also not have deductibles or co-payments, particularly with plans offered under Medicare.

In the early stages of the implementation of the bill, it will establish health insurance exchanges that will provide you with a wealth of choices, so as to insure that you get the best deal - premiums-wise and benefits-wise. This is particularly true if you are buying health insurance through the individual market. The health insurance exchanges (which will be available in every state) will enable the buyer to easily compare the coverage that the different plans provide.

The bad news is that if you opt for high-value plans, you will have to pay higher premiums than usual. An additional 40% excise tax will be meted out for these kinds of plans
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