It really is hard to believe that it’s been a full six months since President Obama signed a sweeping health reform package into law. But for the millions of Americans affected by these changes, September 23rd was been a long time coming.
The regulations that took effect yesterday mean that the more than 30,000 people who would have lost their insurance this year because they reached their lifetime limits or had it rescinded will keep their coverage; it means that more than 72,000 children who have been denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition, will now have access to it; and it means that up to 88 million Americans can now afford preventive care, access emergency services and receive help through the insurance appeals process.
Sure, the list of new reforms is pretty short … but, as you can tell, they may soon have a profound impact on the health of America.
- Young adults can now stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26-years-old regardless of employment or educational status – though there is an exception if the child’s employer offers insurance.
- Specific preventive services, depending on your age are now covered without charge (no deductible, no co-pay and no coinsurance).
- Insurance companies can no longer rescind your coverage or deny payment for a claim after you become sick, except for in cases of fraud or insurance abuse.
- Patients who wish to appeal an insurance company’s decision on a claim now has assistance for filing an appeal. This includes an external review process.
- Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime spending limits on essential benefits, including hospital stays.
- The government is now regulating the insurance industry’s use of annual dollar limits. By 2014, all plans (group and individual) will be banned from using annual dollar limits for essential benefits like hospital stays.
- Children (under 19) can no longer be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
Check out this timeline at healthcare.gov for more information on the reforms that take effect today and to better understand when to expect additional reforms.