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Four health care plans offer four very different options

Despite all the yelling and screaming amidst the health care reform debate this summer, many are still in the dark as to how the proposed plans will apply to them.
College students will have to live with whatever plan passes for a very long time, longer than those passing the bill, in most cases.
So here are a few key points to each of the popular plans in each house of Congress.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, is the chair of the Senate Finance Committee and has put together a plan different from the president’s in a few ways and similar in others.
Under the Baucus plan, individuals would be required to have health insurance or pay a penalty. The amount of that penalty would depend on the individual’s income level.
This plan does not include a so-called public option, but does create a non-profit health care cooperative.
Finally, businesses will not be required to offer health insurance to employees, but those that employ more than 50 people will be required to reimburse the government for tax credits given to employees who purchase their own coverage.
The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has also put out its own health care plan.
That plan would also require individuals to have coverage, and it will be enforced by the Secretary of the Treasury though a tax penalty.
The HELP plan allows for a public plan that would be offered through state gateways, but the exact details of that idea aren’t fully developed. The committee doesn’t know how the plan would affect employers yet.
The three House committees that oversee health policy also have a third plan in the works.
All individuals would be required to have acceptable coverage under this plan.
A public plan would be offered through the National Health Insurance Exchange and would have the same requirements as private plans and would be paid by premiums.
Employers would be required to insure employees. Companies would also have to contribute at least 72 percent of individual premium costs or pay 8 percent into the Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund. Small business would qualify for exemptions.
Finally, the House Republican leadership has created its own plan, which was announced in June.
Individuals would not be required to have health insurance under this plan, nor is a public option included.
States, small businesses and other organizations would be allowed to band together to offer coverage at lower costs.
Employers would be encouraged to automatically enroll employees in benefits packages instead of requiring them to opt-in.
As the dust of the intense summer debates begins to settle and legislators return to Washington, one of these plans, or one similar to it, will likely be passed some time this fall.
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