March 24, 2010 Leave a comment
The White House posted a nice memo that clearly lays out how Americans will benefit from the health care reform now (or at least in the very near future). Kevin Drum highlights some of the key points:
- This year, children with pre-existing conditions can no longer
be denied health insurance coverage. Once the new health insurance
exchanges begin in the coming years, pre-existing condition
discrimination will become a thing of the past for everyone.
- This year, health care plans will allow young people to remain
on their parents' insurance policy up until their 26th birthday.
- This year, insurance companies will be banned from dropping
people from coverage when they get sick, and they will be banned from
implementing lifetime caps on coverage. This year, restrictive annual
limits on coverage will be banned for certain plans. Under health
insurance reform, Americans will be ensured access to the care they
- This year, adults who are uninsured because of pre-existing
conditions will have access to affordable insurance through a temporary
subsidized high-risk pool.
- In the next fiscal year, the bill increases funding for
community health centers, so they can treat nearly double the number of
patients over the next five years.
- This year, this bill creates a new, independent appeals process
that ensures consumers in new private plans have access to an effective
process to appeal decisions made by their insurer.
- This year, discrimination based on salary will be outlawed. New
group health plans will be prohibited from establishing any eligibility
rules for health care coverage that discriminate in favor of higher-wage
- Starting January 1, 2011, insurers in the individual and small
group market will be required to spend 80 percent of their premium
dollars on medical services. Insurers in the large group market will be
required to spend 85 percent of their premium dollars on medical
services. Any insurers who don't meet those thresholds will be required
to provide rebates to their policyholders.
- Starting in 2011, this bill helps states require insurance
companies to submit justification for requested premium increases. Any
company with excessive or unjustified premium increases may not be able
to participate in the new health insurance exchanges.
- This year, small businesses that choose to offer coverage will
begin to receive tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums to help
make employee coverage more affordable.
- This year, new private plans will be required to provide free
preventive care: no co-payments and no deductibles for preventive
services. And beginning January 1, 2011, Medicare will do the same.
- This year, this bill will provide help for early retirees by
creating a temporary re-insurance program to help offset the costs of
expensive premiums for employers and retirees age 55-64.
- This year, this bill starts to close the Medicare Part D 'donut
hole' by providing a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the
gap in prescription drug coverage. And beginning in 2011, the bill
institutes a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the 'donut hole.'
That's a lot of good stuff that will make a real difference in many people's lives.