Lives Made Better | winter 2011

What Health Care Reform
Means for You

It seems the only truly certain thing about the recent federal health care reform is continued uncertainty. There is much speculation about possible changes in the law as the new Congress meets in 2011. Stay tuned, but here is a brief synopsis of the law as it stands today:

The complex ďAffordable Care ActĒ contains significant provisions that will affect you and your family. One of the biggest intended changes is that more Americans will have access to health insurance.

In four years, as the law now stands, insurance will be required for everyone. But chances are, youíll have more help getting it. Most employers will have to provide coverage or pay a fine. Youíll also be able to buy individual plans in new insurance markets. And you might receive credits to purchase this coverage based on your household income.

Here are just a few items already changed and on the way in the next few years.

As of December 2010:

  • Insurance companies canít take away your coverage if you get sick or cap your lifetime coverage.
  • Young adults can stay on parentsí plans
    until age 26.
  • Companies canít deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. A new high-risk plan provides coverage to uninsured adults with pre-existing conditions.
  • If you enroll in a new individual plan or a group plan through work, youíll receive free preventive care, including immunizations and screenings.

In 2011:

  • If youíre on Medicare, youíll begin getting free preventive care, including annual wellness checkups.
  • Medicareís Physician Compare website will launch, allowing you to assess doctors online.
  • Youíll no longer be able to pay for over-the-counter drugs with flexible savings plans or health spending accounts.

In 2014:

  • If you donít have health insurance, youíll face tax penalties that increase each year.
  • Insurance companies wonít be able to deny you coverage or base your premiums on your health status. They also canít cap your yearly coverage.
  • If you still donít have coverage through work, youíll be able to buy affordable plans through new state-based insurance exchanges.
  • No matter where you get your coverage, it will meet new government standards for the benefits it provides.

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