2 Big Ways the New Health Care Reform Bill Could Impact Your Wallet

Photo by Valeri Potapova / Shutterstock.com

Republicans have reached a milestone in their years-long quest to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

On Thursday, members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of a revised version of the Republicans’ health care reform bill, known as the American Health Care Act. This version of the bill reflects several amendments made since Republicans tried to advance the proposed legislation in the House two months ago.

The American Health Care Act must also make it through the U.S. Senate before it can be advanced to President Donald Trump’s desk. But if it reaches his desk and is signed it into law, you can expect the bill’s recent amendments to affect American pocketbooks. Here are two big impacts it might have:

1. The bill changes rules for those with pre-existing conditions

Under current law as well as the prior version of the GOP’s American Health Care Act, health insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage or charging more money to a patient because the patient has pre-existing health conditions. But the new legislation’s MacArthur Amendment changes that somewhat.

Named for the congressman behind it, Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., the amendment gives states the choice of effectively opting out of the pre-existing conditions prohibition and devising their own alternatives. As the New York Times has summarized it:

“Insurers would be allowed to charge higher prices to sick customers who had experienced a lapse in coverage of more than 63 days, as long as the state also set up a program to help high-risk patients obtain insurance.”

However, the House Republicans’ website about the American Health Care Act says that “in states with a waiver, individuals who maintain continuous coverage could not be rated based on health status.” So if your state opted to devise its own program for patients with pre-existing conditions, you would want to be especially sure to maintain continuous health care coverage if you have pre-existing conditions.

If you do experience a lapse in coverage, though, the Upton-Long Amendment (from Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Billy Long, R-Mo.) might help you. It sets aside $8 billion to reduce the premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses of patients with pre-existing conditions who have a lapse in coverage and who live in a state that set up its own program for patients with pre-existing conditions.

In addition, the higher rates can only be in effect for one year. Once an individual retains coverage for 12 months, they return to the standard rate.

2. The bill allows states to craft their own ‘essential health benefits’

Under Obamacare, health insurance plans must cover what are known as “essential health benefits.” These 10 categories of benefits include hospitalizations, prescription drugs, mental health disorder services, maternity coverage and pediatric services.

Under the current version of the Republicans’ health care reform bill, those 10 benefits remain the federal standard. But the MacArthur Amendment gives states the choice of effectively opting out of the standard and devising their own alternatives.

This amendment treats the essential health benefits requirement similarly to the pre-existing conditions prohibition. States that wish to opt out must first publicly attest that they’re doing so because it would reduce the cost of health care coverage and increase the number of people with coverage. Additionally, states must specify which benefits they would require instead of the federal standard.

What’s your stance on the new health care reform bill? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Can My Wife Use My Social Security Benefits While Letting Hers Grow?
Can My Wife Use My Social Security Benefits While Letting Hers Grow?

Your self-discipline in not uttering three little words helps determine whether you can use a key claiming strategy.

14 Products That Keep Foods Fresh Longer
14 Products That Keep Foods Fresh Longer

We’ve rounded up innovative Amazon purchases to lengthen the life of your favorite foods and beverages.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

10 Ways Anyone Can Earn More Income
10 Ways Anyone Can Earn More Income

Looking for additional cash? Here are a bunch of options that are accessible to anyone with internet access.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar
9 Mistakes People Make When Cleaning With Vinegar

Cleaning with vinegar can save you a lot of money, but using it like this can cost you.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50
7 Costly Health Problems That Strike After Age 50

As we age, our bodies wear down. Here is how to cut costs associated with some common ailments.

7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.