A friend familiar with the industry emails and points me to a summary at the NOLO legal encyclopedia that explains how healthcare insurance premiums are going to become income based. NOLO writes (my highlight)
4. You Can Get Health Coverage If You Need It
Starting in 2014, U.S. citizens and legal residents will be able to buy health insurance through a new system of exchanges run by state government agencies or nonprofits (these exchange programs are officially called "American Health Benefit Exchanges"). Families and individuals whose income is on the lower end of the scale -- up to four times the federal poverty level, or just over $88,000 for a family of four -- will be entitled to credits and subsidies to help with some or all of the costs for coverage.
The amount that an individual or family will need to pay for health coverage will be based on total income -- the more you make, the more you'll pay for coverage. The CBO estimates that 20 million individuals and families will be entitled to receive subsidized health insurance under the new law.
My friend concludes:
The above is one of the more succinct of the articles about the coming law. #4 is the provision that I was told about by somebody who works at Blue Cross, but the government and even the media has been keeping very mum about it….I usually know about this stuff a mile ahead of time but was really caught, because one provision not mentioned in this article (unless changed, as a lot of these reforms are being challenged) is about the grandfathering of current plans back to sometime in 2010, where if you have had the same policy since then you won’t be charged based on income.
Obviously lower income folks will move off of these plans to where they can get cheaper coverage, but those making money will be lucky if this provision sticks and will stay with their current plans.
Most of the new mandated coverage (i.e. maternity care) that will be increasing the costs of the plans are for young folks, but people of all ages, and especially those in higher income brackets, will be subsidizing the costs of the new features of the plan, as well as the cost for those who are in the lowest income brackets and are getting credits to keep the costs of their plans down.
I’m sure this will become a much hotter topic later this year!Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program:
From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
The more you make, the more you'll pay.