Thursday, January 21, 2010

Health bill may impose 'marriage penalty'

More ramifications than just health care?

Both the House and Senate plans have higher premium caps for a married couple than an unmarried pair making the same money.

By The Wall Street Journal
Some married couples would pay thousands of dollars more for the same health insurance coverage as unmarried people living together if the health insurance overhaul plan pending in Congress is passed.

The built-in "marriage penalty" in both House and Senate versions of the health care bill has received scant attention. But for scores of low- and middle-income couples, it could mean a hike of $2,000 or more in annual insurance premiums the moment they say "I do."

The disparity could come about in part because subsidies for purchasing health insurance under the plan from House Democrats are pegged to federal poverty guidelines. That would have the effect of limiting subsidies for married couples with a combined income, compared with if the individuals were single.

People who got their health insurance through an employer wouldn't be affected, but people who bought subsidized insurance through new exchanges set up by the legislation would. About 17 million people would receive such subsidies in 2016 under the House plan, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.

The legislation would cap the annual amount people making less than 400% of the federal poverty level must pay for health insurance premiums, ranging from 1.5% of income for the poorest to 11% at the top end, under the House plan.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.