What Does Healthcare Reform Mean for You?

From the National Family Caregivers Association website

Family caregivers may be wondering what the newly signed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act means to them and their loved ones.

The following is an overview of a few of the provisions of the new law that will take effect in 2010, as summarized by Patton Boggs, LLP, attorneys at law:

Immediate Access to Insurance for Uninsured Children and Adults with a Pre-Existing Condition. Provides eligible individuals access to coverage that does not impose any coverage exclusions for pre-existing health conditions. This provision ends when Exchanges are operational.

Prohibiting Rescissions. Prohibits abusive practices whereby health insurance companies rescind existing health insurance policies when a person gets sick as a way of avoiding covering the costs of enrollees’ healthcare needs.

Eliminating Lifetime Limits and Restricting Use of Annual Limits. Prohibits lifetime limits on benefits in all group health plans and in the individual market, and prohibits the use of restrictive annual limits.

Covering Preventive Health Services. All new group health plans and plans in the individual market must provide first dollar coverage for preventive services.

Extending Dependent Coverage. Requires any group health plan or plan in the individual market that provides dependent coverage for children to continue to make that coverage available up to age 26.

Improving Consumer Assistance. Requires that any new group health plan or new plan in the individual market implement an effective appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.

Rebates for the Medicare Part D “Donut Hole.” Provides a $250 rebate for all Part D enrollees who enter the “donut hole.” Currently, the coverage gap falls between $2,830 and $6,440 in total drug costs.

Strengthening the Healthcare Workforce. Expands and improves low-interest student loan programs, scholarships, and loan repayments for health students and professionals to increase and enhance the capacity of the workforce to meet patients’ healthcare needs.

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