The cost of health care is rising and health insurance is out of reach for many Americans. That is the basis for health care reform. “Obamacare”, the U.S. health care law that is already in effect is said to decrease insurance costs and make insurance available to every American.
There is a lot of confusion about what is in the new health care law. To clear up this confusion you should know what is in the new health care laws, called the Affordable Care Act.
The U.S. care laws that are already in effect include:
Coverage for pre-existing conditions:
The U.S. health care laws now require insurance companies to cover patients with pre-existing conditions. They have to have been turned down for insurance or not had insurance for the previous six months. They also have to have been offered insurance that doesn’t cover their condition. Children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied or offered limited insurance coverage until the age of 19. Starting in 2014, this law will protect all Americans.
This new law also requires that a website be maintained where you can find out about the insurance that is currently available to you. The new website is in response to a law that requires all Americans have access to health care information.
Preventative care and screenings:
If you have private insurance or Medicare, you can now go to your health care provider for preventative care free of charge. The deductible and co-pay are paid by the government so you don’t have to pay. Preventative care includes yearly mammograms, high blood pressure treatment and osteoporosis screening for women over 65.
The new health care plan also requires insurance to cover services for infants and children. Services including immunizations and yearly well visits will now be covered fully under your insurance plan. Preventative care is included in the covered services. These services are covered from birth until age 21.
Smoking cessation programs, counseling and intervention are available for smokers who want to quit. Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are screened for and preventative treatment put in place. Diabetes screening, colonoscopys and women’s wellness exams are also fully covered under the new health care plan.
Medicare part D prescription “donut hole” discounts:
“The donut hole” is a term for the time you have to start paying for your own medications. You had to start paying for your own medications when medicare covered a certain amount. After you paid a certain amount, Medicare then started paying 100 percent of medication costs. This was called “catastrophic coverage”.
Under the new health care plan, the “donut hole” will begin to close a little each year until it is fully closed and all medications are covered under insurance. Starting this year, there’s a 50 percent discount on most brand name and biological drugs during the time you are in the “donut hole”. There’s also a 75 percent discount on generic drugs.
In 2011, both the insured and the insurer have to pay 2,840 dollars on drugs before the “donut hole” begins. This is a decrease in the amount you pay now as opposed to before the health care plan took effect.
Protection against cancellations:
Insurance companies tend to cancel insurance on people who need it and use it the most. This law prohibits insurance companies from dropping insurance because of an unintentional mistake or omission on their original application for insurance.
No more lifetime limits on care:
Most insurance companies have a limit on how much money they paid out for a persons health. With the new health care plan, they can no longer do this. This health care law bans limits on the amount of health care starting September 23, 2011. Insurance companies can no longer limit the amount they will pay for health care.
Continued coverage for children:
Parents who have private insurance, can now keep their children insured until the age of 26. Children age 18-26 are just starting out in life and usually are unable to afford insurance at this time in their lives. Before this law, children were only able to stay on their parents insurance until about the age of 18.
Insurance protection for retirees:
The new health care law even has some benefits for people who want to retire early but can’t get insurance until age 65, when they qualify for Medicare. Now, a government plan called the Early Retirees Reinsurance Program, set aside five billion dollars to help employers fund an early retirees insurance plan until age 65 when Medicare is available.
The U.S. health care laws that are already in effect are going to benefit millions of people in the United States. The benefits provided in this article are the newest health care benefits already in effect.