Health Care Reform
Health care reform refers to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA. PPACA was signed into law in 2010 and is designed to ensure more Americans have greater access to the care they need to stay healthy. The various provisions in the act were to take place over time, and most of them are scheduled to take effect by 2014.
Some of the biggest changes involves children, young adults and those with pre-existing conditions. In the past, children and adults with pre-existing conditions could have been denied coverage based on health status, or their coverage could have been severely restricted. Young adults would generally be required to get their own plan as soon as they turned 19 or graduated from college.
Today, young adults can instead choose to stay on their families’ plans, which often offer more generous coverage and more affordable premiums, until they reach 26, and those with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage or face restricted coverage based solely on their health status. Starting in 2014, insurers also may not charge subscribers more based on health status, according to health care reform legislation.
Another goal of health care reform was to ensure access to essential preventative care services and wellness programs. Many of those who lack insurance today or who have limited coverage delay care, and the diagnoses and treatment of many common health problems can become more complicated and expensive due to that delay.
With easy access to annual physicals, OB/GYN services, mental health care and other preventative health care services, Americans will have more tools to better manage their health care needs. They will no longer have annual or lifetime limits, and many services will be provided at no out-of-pocket costs to members. Thanks to health care reform, subscribers will be able to access many basic cancer screenings, immunizations and birth control without a copayment, coinsurance or deductibles.