Sunday, April 11, 2010

Health Care Bill: Immediate Benefits

This is the first of several posts on the health care plan. Love it, or hate it, the health care reform finally passed at the end of march. This is a bill that has been written, re-written, fought over, negotiated, trashed, then brought back so many times that one could have made a job out of keeping track of the changes over the past year. Luckily, one of my good friends works for a congress woman and was kind enough to send me up to date information on the bill. There are many pieces to the final bill. Some will kick in as soon as ninety days after the bill was passed, and others will not come in until 2014 with the full expression not being seen until 2020. Here are some of the changes that we will see over the next six months:

For those Uninsured:
  • Young adults can remain on their parents' insurance up to the age of 26 (effective 6 months after enactment)
  • Immediate assistance will be provided to those who are uninsured due to pre-existing conditions. Assistance will be provided through a temporary high risk pool until the Exchanges (see future post) are up and running in 2014 (effective 90 days after enactment)

For those with private insurance
  • Health care plans are prohibited from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions (effective 6 months after enactment, this will apply to adults in 2014)
  • Health care plans are prohibited from dropping people when they get sick
  • Health care plans are no longer allowed to place life time caps on coverage
  • Free preventative care under new plans: preventative services will be exempt from deductibles and will be provided with no copay (effective 6 months after enactment)
  • Consumers in new plans will have access to internal and external appeals process to appeal decisions.
  • Insurance companies are required to put more of your premium toward benefits and less toward profits. Insurers that do not meet thresholds will be required to reimburse policy holders (Effective Jan 1, 2011
  • New Group health plans are prohibited form discriminating in favor of employees with higher wages.

Additional Changes
  • Increase funding for community health centers with the goal of doubling the number of patients served by 2015
  • Funding for training programs for primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals
  • Provides funding to states in order to establish offices of health insurance consumer assistance where consumers can file complaints and appeals

The details on the above changes are still being ironed out. Next post: long term health care changes.

1 comment:

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