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Proposed Health Plans Would Likely Cost Less

Under the House plan, families that earn up to 400% of the federal poverty level would qualify for subsidies. Individuals who earn $20,000 to $35,000 a year would pay between $947 and $3,500 after subsidies.

The Senate plan would also subsidize coverage for people with income levels between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level, which was $18,310 for a family of three in 2009. Medicaid would be expanded to all individuals with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level.

What if you don't buy coverage?

The Senate bill would phase in a non-coverage penalty beginning in 2012. The fee would start at $95 (or 0.5% of the person's income if that amount is larger) and rise to as much as 2% of income, or $2,250 per family and $750 for individuals, by 2016.

The House bill would tax 2.5% of an individual's income, capped at the cost of an average premium.

How would employers be affected?

Companies with more than 50 employees that don't offer health insurance would be forced to pay $750 per worker under the Senate plan. At smaller firms, if even one person receives coverage, the charge is enacted.

If the premiums offered by an employer are higher than 9.8% of an employee's income, and that employee obtains coverage through the government program, a $3,000 penalty will be assessed.

The House bill would require employers to subsidize at least 72.5% of the premiums for individual coverage and 65% of the premium for family plans. Companies that don't comply could face a payroll tax of as much as 8%. Companies with annual payrolls of less than $500,000 would face no assessment. Those with payrolls of $500,000 to $584,999 would pay 2% of payroll; $585,000 to 669,999 would pay 4%; and $670,000 to $749,999 would pay a 6% assessment.

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