Throughout 2015, Americans can expect to continue to hear about changes in healthcare programs and policies at both the federal and the state level. These changes will have direct impacts on individual finances as well as the way the healthcare is provided and paid for across the nation. These top four major healthcare events are expected to occur during 2015 and will have direct impacts on you, your employer and your health.
Record-Setting Per Capita Spending
In 2015, prepare yourself for sticker shock at the estimated per capita expenditure on healthcare. According to Dan Munro at Forbes, in 2015, healthcare spending is expected to reach $10,000 per person. This will be the first time that average healthcare expenses have ever surpassed the five-digit amount. Most of that increase is due to the rapid growth of high deductible health care plans offered by employers who do not want to bear the brunt of the rise in expenditures out of their profits. According to HealthCorps, you can compare prices and shop around for your healthcare plan to find the best services for your needs at a price you can afford.
Supreme Court Hearings on the Affordable Care Act
Challenges against specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will continue in 2015. More than a handful of states have sued the federal government, challenging the ACA. Republicans have also filed suit over the ACA, claiming that portions of the law are unconstitutional. You can expect the Supreme Court of the United States to have its say in the matter sometime during the year.
Changes for the Children’s Health Insurance Program
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a federally funded program administered by states, is up for renewal in 2015. This program provides healthcare insurance to children whose families meet specific income guidelines. Families qualifying for the program generally earn too much to receive Medicaid but do not earn enough to purchase their own health insurance policy. In the past, this program has received a four year renewal. However, due to a Republican controlled House of Representatives and Senate, you can expect this program to be renewed for a shorter period of time, such as two years. This is because of growing program costs, budgetary concerns and variable economic forecasts.
Repealing the Medical Device Tax
The 2.3 percent medical device tax was slated to provide a modest amount of funding for the ACA, about $30 billion over a period of ten years. Republicans have been adamantly against this portion of the ACA, explaining that it unfairly puts a burden on specific types of companies. You can expect this tax to be repealed at some point in 2015, although it will only have effects on a few major corporations headquartered in the U.S., such as Abbott Laboratories. It will not have any direct financial impacts on any bills you receive or the price you pay for your health insurance premiums.