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Health reform: What's coming in 2013
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Health reform: What's coming in 2013

Health reform: What's coming in 2013
Photo Credit: Kent Johnson / kjohnson@ajc.com
LPN Megan Antunez gives a an allergy shot to Palmer King, 10, during an office visit to the Atlanta Allergy Clinic Monday, September 10, 2012.

Health reform: What's coming in 2013

The year 2012 was a big year for the Affordable Care Act.

It survived a Supreme Court challenge and another during the presidential election. With President Obama in office for another four years, the health reform law will continue down the road to take full effect in 2014. But there is much work yet to be done, and 2013 promises to be a very active year.

Health Insurance Exchanges Go Online

The big story to watch in 2013 will be the development of state-based health insurance exchanges. These marketplaces will allow uninsured people and small businesses to shop for, compare, and enroll in health plans. Only through the exchanges will people learn if they qualify for and can take advantage of  federal tax subsidies to help cover the cost of insurance. Exchanges must be up and running by Oct. 1, 2013, and it’s going to be a mad rush to get the job done.

States were given the option to build their own exchanges and had until Dec. 14 to decide. Just 18 states and the District of Columbia agreed to build their own. Seven states have opted for a partnership exchange, a model where the states and federal government work together to operate the marketplace. That leaves the federal government to put in place health insurance exchanges in the remaining 25 states that declined to participate. 

Increased Medicare Taxes on the Wealthy

If you have Medicare coverage and earn more than $200,000 a year or are part of a married couple earning more than $250,000 annually, get ready to pay higher taxes for Medicare hospital insurance (Medicare Part A) in 2013.

Starting in January, taxes will rise by 0.9%, up to 2.35%, on earnings above $200,000 for individual taxpayers. In addition, income earned from investments (as opposed to salary) will face a 3.8% tax assessment.

Together, these two Medicare tax increases are expected to raise a total of $210 billion over 10 years to help pay for the changes brought by the health reform law.

Changes to Itemized Medical Deductions

For years we’ve been allowed to deduct unreimbursed medical costs that amount to 7.5% of our adjusted gross income. Starting next year, anyone under the age of 65 will see that threshold increase to 10%.

Limits to FSA Contributions

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) allow people to set aside pre-tax salary dollars to pay for medical expenses not covered by insurance. Starting in January, contributions to these accounts will be limited to $2,500 a year.

Medicaid Expansion Becomes Optional

The Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year brought changes to the part of the law that expanded the Medicaid program to include more low income Americans. The expansion allows for individuals who earn about $15,400 a year and families that earn about $26,300 annually to participate. In its decision, the court said the Medicaid expansion will be optional for states, not a requirement.

In response, many governors opposed to the law said they would refuse to expand their Medicaid programs. To date, 18 states have agreed to broaden rules for their Medicaid program, 11 states have said they would not expand their programs, and 16 remain undecided.

SOURCES: Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute: "Supreme Court Toolbox."Urban Institute.Avalere: "Two-Thirds of Exchange Enrollees Will Buy Through Federally-Administered Exchanges in 2014."Kaiser Family Foundation: "Health Reform Source Implementation Timeline."Healthcare.gov. Affordable Insurance Exchanges: State Partnership Model: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/09/exchanges09192011a.htmlHealthcare.gov: "Progress Continues in Setting up Health Insurance Marketplaces." Kaiser Family Foundation: "State Decisions for Creating Health Insurance Exchanges in 2014."Towers Watson: "High-Income Individuals to Pay Higher Medicare Taxes Starting in 2013."

© 2012 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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  • Update 2:27 p.m. EDT Nov. 17: Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston on Friday denied that he groped a female Uber driver in 2016, saying in a statement that he believes “the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her.” “The accusation is false, and given the nature of the allegation and increased awareness and consideration of these types of matters, I am addressing this false report immediately.” BuzzFeed News reported Friday that the NFL is investigating the alleged incident, which happened in Scottsdale, Arizona. The driver, who was not identified, told BuzzFeed that Winston “reached over and he just grabbed my crotch” as they were waiting for food in the drive-thru of a Mexican restaurant. “I am supportive of the national movement to raise awareness and develop better responses to the concerns of parties who find themselves in these types of situations, but this accusation is false,” Winston said. “While I am certain that I did not make any inappropriate contact, I don’t want to engage in a battle with the driver and I regret if my demeanor or presence made her uncomfortable in any way.” In response to the incident, Uber barred Winston from using the service. Original report:The NFL is investigating an allegation that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston groped a female Uber driver in 2016, BuzzFeed News reported Friday. >> Read more trending news Lisa Friel, a member of the NFL’s special counsel for investigations, sent a letter to the female Uber driver on Thursday confirming that the NFL is looking into the matter, according to the report. The female Uber driver told BuzzFeed News that she picked up Winston in the early hours of the morning on March 13 in Scottsdale, Arizona. She said that Winston “behaved poorly” immediately when he entered her vehicle. Later in the drive, when they waited for food at a Mexican restaurant drive-thru, Winston “reached over and he just grabbed my crotch,” the woman told BuzzFeed. Soon after the ride, the driver filed a formal complaint with the company, writing that “apparently a big athlete in the NFL” reached over “and put his fingers on my crotch.” “It wasn’t my stomach or thigh, it was my crotch and I want to be clear about that,” she added in the complaint. “He is NOT safe for other drivers.” Uber banned Winston from using the service in the future, according to BuzzFeed. “The behavior the driver reported is disturbing and wrong,” an Uber spokesperson said Friday in a statement. “The rider was permanently removed from the app shortly after we learned of the incident.” Winston’s representative, Russ Spielman, issued a statement denying the allegations, saying the Uber driver “was unable to identify the specific individual who allegedly touched this driver inappropriately. The only reason his name is being dragged in to this is that his Uber account was used to call the ride.” While at Florida State, Winston was accused of raping a female student. The alleged assault, which occurred in 2012, was not made public until 2013 amid the controversy of a cover-up by the school and Tallahassee police. The woman in the case, Erica Kinsman, sued the University. In 2016, she and Florida State reached a settlement that would pay her $950,000. Winston is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury. The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
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