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What is changing already as the healthcare reform law is implemented?

Many provisions of the law have already begun being implemented. You can find an implementation timeline at http://www.kff.org/healthreform/8060.cfm.

Below is a list of the changes already being implemented:

  • Extended coverage for young adults: Young adults can now stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26.
  • Free preventative care procedures: All new plans have to provide certain procedures like mammograms or colonoscopies without charging a co-pay, deductible or coinsurance.
  • Small business tax credits: Up to 4 million businesses are eligible to receive a credit worth up to 35% of the employer’s contribution to employee health insurance.
  • Consumer protection: The law offers a way for consumers to appeal decisions to their insurance companies and an external review process.
  • No more lifetime limits: Insurance companies are prohibited from imposing lifetime dollar limits on essential services, like hospital stays.
  • No denying coverage to children: Children under the age of 19 cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
  • Encouraging primary care doctors: The law offers incentives to increase the number of primary care physicians, nurses and physicians assistants, especially in underserved areas. It also provides increased support to rural healthcare providers, who often face obstacles to serving their communities.
  • Funding for disease prevention: The funding for a $15 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund started in 2010. It will invest in public health programs that have demonstrated success.
  • Improved Accountability: 85% of premium dollars will have to be spent on healthcare services and healthcare quality improvements. 80% for plans sold to small employers and individuals. If insurance companies spend too much on administrative costs or their profits are too high, they will have to issue rebates.
  • Medicare improvements: Reducing overpayments to big insurance companies and making Medicare Advantage stronger.
  • Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation: The law creates this center to help improve care and decrease the rate at which costs increase for government insurance programs.
  • Helping seniors after hospital stays: The Community Care Transitions Program will help Medicare recipients through coordinated care and helping them access services after hospital stays.
  • More home options for people with disabilities: Medicare receivers will have more home care options, instead of needing to use nursing homes.
  • Closing the Medicare ‘donut hole’: Will provide up to a 50% discount on brand name drugs covered by Medicare, and additional discounts in the future until the coverage gap is closed.

Source: www.healthcare.gov