Although many of the reforms associated with the federal health care reform act will take effect in 2014, there are some changes coming on Jan. 1, including a tax increase on wages and investment revenue and for high-income individuals.
In an effort to help fund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, an additional 0.9 percent payroll tax will be levied on any wages over $200,000 for an individual or over $250,000 for married couples filing jointly.
That same income group also will pay a 3.8 percent tax on investment income like capital gains and dividends that is over the same high-income threshold.
Both tax increases are expected to raise $318 billion over the next 10 years, according to an analysis done in June by the Joint Committee on Taxation.
Birth control rules
There are other changes coming with the new year, as well, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
At least one Oklahoma-based company is fighting not to implement required insurance coverage under what has come to be known as Obamacare. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. announced that it would not provide employees with insurance that covers certain types of contraception — the morning-after pill, the week-after pill and some intrauterine devices.
The contraception requirement is part of a list of preventive health services for women that must be covered in full by insurance beginning August 2012.
However, because most insurance plans run on a calendar year, most companies and employees are facing the change on Jan. 1. Other items required to be covered include annual preventive care medical visits, mammograms, colonoscopies, blood pressure tests, childhood immunizations, H.I.V. screenings and breast-feeding counseling and equipment.
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority also has been prepping for changes that come with the new year for Medicaid programs in Oklahoma.
The law mandates that the state now pay primary care physicians 100 percent of the Medicare rates, which is a slight increase to the rates already being paid in Oklahoma. Each state operates its own Medicaid program to provide health coverage for lower-income people, families, children, the elderly and the disabled.
In Oklahoma, the rate set to pay primary care physicians is almost 97 percent of the current Medicare rate, said Kelly Taylor, director of reimbursement for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.
She said the increase in the fees paid to primary care physicians is estimated to cost the state $7.3 million in the last half of fiscal year 2013.
In fiscal year 2012, Medicaid paid physicians $535 million, so Taylor estimated it will be a 1.37 percent increase.
The federal government will reimburse Oklahoma for the entire cost of the increased payments, she said.
Some states' reimbursement rates were much lower than Oklahoma's and were at 70 percent or less of the Medicare rates, she said.
Taylor said letters are being sent out to physicians to inform them of the higher rates and paperwork they must fill out to certify that they are primary care physicians.