On March 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. The Health Care Reform has already made a serious impact on our health care, but most provisions will take place in 2014 and beyond. Here is a timeline of the key features of the Affordable Care Act.
Health Care Reform (Affordable Care Act) Changes – 2010
- The introduced Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan makes health coverage available for US citizens who had been denied health insurance and been uninsured for at least 6 months because of a pre-existing condition.
- Coverage for young adults is extended. They are now allowed to stay as dependents on their parents’ plan until they turn 26 years old.
- Coverage for early retirees is expanded through the use of the temporary retiree reinsurance program.
- Denying coverage of children under the age of 19 based on pre-existing conditions is prohibited.
- Insurance companies are prohibited from rescinding coverage.
- Lifetime limits on insurance coverage are eliminated.
- Annual limits on insurance coverage are regulated.
- Medicare members who reach the “doughnut hole” receive a $250 rebate.
- Free preventive care without cost-sharing is provided.
Health Care Reform (Affordable Care Act) Changes – 2011
- Prescription Drug Discounts are available for senior citizens. Senior citizens who reach the coverage gap are entitled to a 50% drug discount when buying Part D brand-name prescription drugs.
- Free preventive care is made available to seniors, including annual wellness visits and personalized prevention plans
- The Medical Loss Ratio is introduced. For plans sold to individuals and small employers, at least 80% of the premium must be spent on health care costs and health care improvement. Otherwise, insurance companies must provide refunds to policy holders.
- Medicare Advantage plans begin restructuring and freeze 2011 payments at 2010 levels
Health Care Reform (Affordable Care Act) Changes – 2012
- A hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program (VBP) is introduced in Medicare. It offers financial incentives to hospitals to improve the quality of care. Hospitals with high rates of readmissions face the reduced Medicare payments.
- Hospitals and physicians are encouraged to join together to form “Accountable Care Organizations.”
Health Care Reform (Affordable Care Act) Changes – 2013
- Medicaid payments for primary care doctors will be increased.
Health Care Reform (Affordable Care Act) Changes – 2014
- There will be new individual responsibilities: most individuals who can afford to pay will be required to obtain basic health care insurance or pay a fee to help offset the costs of caring for uninsured Americans.
- There will be new individual affordability tax credits and expanded small business tax credits
- The Health Insurance Marketplace will be established by making Health Insurance Exchanges operational.
- There will be no exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
- Annual limits on insurance coverage will be eliminated.
- There will be no more excessive waiting periods.
- Access to Medicaid will be increased. Americans who earn less than 133% of the poverty level (approximately $14,000 for an individual and $29,000 for a family of four) will be eligible to enroll in Medicaid.
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