Oklahomans prepare for changes under health care reform act

Although many of the reforms associated with the federal health care reform act will take effect in 2014, Oklahomans will notice some changes coming on Jan. 1, including a tax increase on wages and investment revenue and for high-income individuals.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Modified: December 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm •  Published: December 28, 2012
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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.

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