Monday, September 20, 2010

Remember Health Care Reform? Some of that Hopey-Changey Stuff Happens This Week.

This week will mark the six month anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, and finally, a number of provisions will be triggered. Here's what's changing:

  • Provision: Young adults can stay on parents' plan until 26 years old.
  • Impact: Likely to help some jobless young adults. Rules adopted after the law passed say insurers must charge the same for children regardless of age. That is good news for those with infants and older children who buy individual coverage—they previously paid more to cover the expensive first two years and those in their 20s—bad news for most others.

  • Provision: New plans must provide dozens of preventive services without charging a copayment. Applies only to plans sold after Sept. 23.
  • Impact: Government hopes to improve public health. Insurers say extra services are driving premium increases.

  • Provision: No lifetime limits on benefit payouts.
  • Impact: Many employer plans have lower limits, while they're often higher in individual plans.

  • Provision: Begins to phase out annual limits on benefit payouts, starting by making the limit no less than $750,000.
  • Impact: May be limited in some cases. Employers whose plans don't meet requirement can apply each year for a waiver. Individual plans that are grandfathered are also exempt.

  • Provision: Insurers can't deny children coverage because they have a pre-existing condition.
  • Impact: Regulators broadened the provision so that insurers, in effect, must guarantee coverage to all consumers under age 19. Most helpful to people buying insurance on their own.

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