Key Points of the Affordable Care Act
The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA, health care reform and Obamacare) was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The law is intended to expand access to insurance, increase consumer protections, emphasize prevention and wellness, improve quality and system performance, expand the health workforce, and curb rising health care costs. Below are key provisions of the new law.
- Insurance Exchanges – Each state is required to establish a health insurance exchange. Individuals and small employers (companies with 50 employees or less) may purchase insurance on the exchange (also called the health insurance marketplace). Open enrollment for 2014 begins October 1, 2013.
- Young adult coverage – You can now keep your adult children on your plan up to age 26.
- Pre-existing conditions – Starting in 2014, “pre-existing condition” limits go away.
- Preventive care services – Scheduled preventive services will be included in most individual policies and group benefit plans at no cost to members. This includes preventive and wellness services as well as prescription drugs. A full list of preventive care services covered by the Affordable Care Act can be found here.
- Guaranteed coverage – Beginning in 2014 you will be able to get insurance coverage without being turned down due to age, gender, health history, or where you live.
- Unlimited coverage – No lifetime or annual dollar limits on your health benefits.
- Same benefits for mental health – Mental health and substance abuse claims will be covered at the same benefit level as medical claims.
- Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) – These may no longer be used to pay for over the counter medications unless prescribed by a doctor. The annual maximum amount is $2,500.
- Subsidies – An estimated 26 million Americans will be eligible for subsidies from the government to help pay the premiums for health insurance coverage.
For even more information, the Kaiser Family Foundation has an entire section dedicated to the new law.
To request a quote on an individual or group health insurance policy that complies with the Affordable Care Act, contact Healthcare Consultants at 713-626-2838 or send us an email.