It’s open enrollment season right now, and that means many of you are probably reviewing the health insurance options offered through your work. As you consider your options, make sure you also consider the health care changes coming in 2013.
The measures passed as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2010 continue to be implemented along the required timeline. As a result, you might see some changes in 2013. Here are some of the things on the docket for 2013:
- Flexible Spending Account (FSA): Your FSA contributions will now be limited to $2,500 per year. This is down from the current contribution limit of $5,000. However, it is still more than the average employee contribution, which is right around $1,400, according to Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans. Remember that FSAs are use it or lose accounts; if you don’t use the money in the year designated, you lose what is left in your account.
- Bundled services and payments: The PPACA allows for bundle services and payments. The pilot program is expected to launch in 2013, allowing for better coordination of patient care, and resulting in a bundled bill with one payment, rather than several.
- Medicare surtax: 2013 is the year that Medicare surtax of 0.9% is added for those who make more than $200,000 singly, or $250,000 married filing jointly. Also, there is an unearned income surtax of 3.8% applied to the lesser of your Modified AGI or your net investment income.
- Medical device excise tax: For those who use certain medical devices (including wheelchairs, prosthetics, and other items), an excise tax of 2.3% will be charged. It’s worth noting that eyewear and hearing aids, which are sold via retailers, won’t be subject to this excise tax.
There is also more funding for certain services in 2013. Funding to states, meant for Medicaid programs, is on the way. Additionally, there is supposed to be more funding provided to states so that they can expand CHIP coverage for children who don’t have access to health insurance.
Preparing For Open Enrollment
Keep these changes in mind as you choose your new health insurance plan. As you prepare for open enrollment, keep in mind your current coverage levels, and consider what you might need to change. Look at whether you have adequate coverage for your needs. In some cases, you might be able to reduce your coverage or increase a deductible to lower your premium.
Another option gaining popularity is the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), which can be paired with a Health Savings Account (HSA). This allows you to save money while at the same time receiving a tax benefit. Consider you situation carefully, though, since a HDHP might not work well for a family that makes frequent use of health care services, or when a chronic illness is involved.
Make sure you understand all the provisions in your health care plan. Double check premiums, as well as coverage items and amounts. These things might change subtly from year to year. Be aware of the changes so that you can plan for your family’s health more effectively.