Six months after President Obama signed the Patients Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, a number of provisions will go into effect today. The following is a summary of those provisions:
· Health insurance companies will no longer be able to deny children coverage (up to age 19) because of a pre-existing condition.
· Health insurance companies will no longer be able to drop a person from coverage when an individual becomes ill
· Health insurance companies can no longer put lifetime caps on the amount of coverage they provide to individuals
· Young people can stay on their parents' health insurance plan until age 26 (if they cannot get coverage through their employer)
· People will have direct access to pediatricians of Ob-Gyns (i.e. no referrals needed)
· Deductible and co-payments cannot be charged for preventative services (physicals, cancer screenings)
· Immunizations will be given at no cost
Prior to today, the provisions that are already underway include:
· Employers who employ up to 25 people that offer health care coverage are eligible for a tax credit up to 35 percent of the average cost of a small group plan in the state beginning in the 2010 tax year
· States (including CA) have set-up high-risk insurance pools for people who cannot get insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
· Seniors who have reached the donut hole under Medicare Part D received $250 to help fund the cost of their prescription drugs
The changes will go into effect when health insurance policies are renewed. For more information on health care reform, go to:
* Editor's note: In May, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) increased its cost projection for the healthcare reform bill by $115 billion, bringing the latest estimate to approximately $1.055 trillion over ten years. While critics justifiably point out that Medicare and Medicaid have far exceeded original cost estimates, it should be noted that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have also far exceeded original cost projections with the current 9 year tab running at $1.084 trillion and rising.