Health Care Reform, also known as the Affordable Care Act, will have a significant impact on how Americans receive health care services. It will also change the way many people finance their health care. In 2009, there was a lot of passion and a lot of misinformation on both sides of the political aisle. Therefore, it is important to know exactly what the facts are and how this bill will affect your health care decisions.
What are the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act?
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. Most of the changes will take place by 2014. Some changes will go into effect immediately. Most changes will not take effect on existing policies. New policies going forward must adhere to these laws, however.
- Help for Struggling Seniors – In June 2010, the U.S. government issued checks to seniors to help cover a gap in Medicare Part D coverage known as the “donut hole”.
- Help for Small Businesses – Small businesses are now eligible for tax credits to help pay for employee health care coverage. Small non-profits are also eligible for a tax credit.
- Medicaid is expanded – Medicaid has been expanded in all 50 states and will now cover more low-income people. Before The Affordable Care Act, most states only offered Medicaid to low-income families with children. Single people living in poverty will now be eligible for Medicaid.
- Fighting Fraud – The new health care bill will make it easier for the government to fight medical fraud. New resources will be allocated to law enforcement to help them fight fraud in Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP.
- Help for Early Retirees – The new law will help early retirees obtain affordable health care coverage. People who retire between the ages of 55-65 are now eligible to receive employer coverage until the exchanges are open in 2014.
- Banning Insurance Company Abuse – Insurance companies are now held accountable. People with pre-existing conditions are now eligible for health insurance coverage. They also are no longer allowed to drop you if you get sick. Lifetime dollar limits by insurance companies will also be banned. Children cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions.
- Easier Access to Information – American citizens will now have more choices when it comes to accessing health insurance. The law provides a website where people can shop and compare various plans.
- Student Health Coverage – Young adults can now stay on their parent’s plan until they turn 26, unless they are offered a job with health insurance benefits before they reach that age.
- Free Preventative Care – Under the new law, you will never have to pay for a check-up ever again. All preventative services like check-ups, mammograms, and colonoscopies will be offered for free.
- Insurance Company Accountability – Insurance companies will now be held accountable for high rate hikes.
- Incentives for Work in Health Care – Under the new law, there will be increased incentives for people to work in health care such as student loan forgiveness for nurses and doctors.
- Payment for Rural Health Care Providers – The law makes sure that physicians in rural areas get paid an increased amount.
- Increasing Community and Home Health Care Access – States will now be able to offer community-based and home-based services to the disabled.
- Lower Administrative Costs – Lower administrative costs can help you save money indirectly by eliminating high costs in the health care system due to high administrative costs and other factors.
- Increased Medicaid Payments to Primary Care Physicians
- Health Insurance Exchanges – These exchanges will allow small businesses and individuals to shop around for affordable health insurance.
The new health care law will bring about several changes in the American health care systems. For most Americans, this will lower the cost of accessing health services. For more information on what the law will do, visit healthcare.gov.
Deborah Lawwill is a blogger and internet copywriter. You can learn more about Deborah at her website, deborahsquill.com.