The Health Care Reform Act or Affordable Insurance Act, recently signed into law and often referred to as ObamaCare, is a very divisive political topic today. No matter where you stand on the issue, it’s good to consider why this law was developed and how it will benefit you. Check out these 10 ways that ObamaCare positively affects your healthcare coverage.
1. Health insurance providers can no longer cancel your policy if you get sick. This was a major complaint among consumers, who may pay for decades into a policy only to see it canceled with no refunds if and when they actually need the benefits of that policy.
2. Free preventive care and annual checkups are part of the policy. This Act was meant to focus on the prevention of diseases and conditions through checkups and preventive care. The Act stipulates that new private healthcare plans must cover the cost of these, and eliminate cost sharing such as co-pays or deductibles for measures such as immunizations and cancer screenings. Special coverage for women is also included, such as domestic violence screening and contraception. This can save consumers money in other ways, as they may struggle to get care and even life insurance for diabetics and those with other preventable diseases.
3. Rebates on premiums if the insurers don’t spend enough on care. This new law says that most insurers needs to spend at least 80% of the premiums collected on medical care and improvements; this number is 85% for insurers covering employers with a large number of employees. If they spend too much on things like salary, bonuses, and administrative costs, they must issue rebates to consumers every year.
4. Young adults can stay on a parent’s plan until age 26. This includes if the young adult is single, married, in school, or employed. The only exception is if the young adult can get their own coverage through their employer. This part of the Act was meant to keep more students and recent grads insured while working to establish themselves in their own careers, and to avoid a gap in their coverage during this time.
5. No more pre-existing conditions. All the provisions to remove the pre-existing conditions clause to insurance policies are slowly being put into effect so that insurance cannot be denied if you have any such conditions as early as 2014.
6. Standard disclosure forms are now being used. This standardized form will summarize your benefits and coverage and will include information on co-pays, deductibles, and limits on out-of-pocket expenses. They will also note excluded services.
7. Appeals process is faster and easier. A consumer can appeal the denial of benefits to an independent reviewer and receive a response within 72 hours. This makes it easier to have your insurance cover you in case of medical emergencies.
8. A ban on lifetime limits. This part of the law says that insurance companies can no longer put a lifetime ban on the amount of coverage they will offer you over the course of a lifetime. This keeps consumers from going into debt simply because their insurance “ran out.”
9. Raising the rate of annual dollar limits. As of September 2012, the dollar limit that an insurance company can set for annual care is no less than $2 million. In January 2014, the limits will be eliminated altogether. Insurers can still limit certain coverage amounts such as doctor office visits and days in the hospital.
10. More primary care physicians are being funded. The law also provides funds to train more primary care physicians, in response to the growing need for these types of doctors. This will provide more consumers with the general healthcare they need and to encourage preventative care. Many are assuming that this will increase general health overall, as more and more consumers will be able to visit primary care physicians to get the medical advice they need. It will cut back on the need for high risk life insurance for many and save them on healthcare costs in the long run.
Author Bio: My name is Lance Peterson; I am a graduate in Finance from UPenn. I am a banker, whose expertise stretches to areas like loans, investments, hedge funds, insurance and other related fields. I like keeping myself updated about the global financial scene.