Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy 6 Month Anniversary of Health Care Reform: Time to Celebrate New Protections and Benefits for All

On Thursday, September 23, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act celebrates its 6 month anniversary. This is an anniversary that marks the start of numerous provisions to help Americans of all ages.

Below are some of the major provisions that will give millions of Americans access to reliable, high quality medical care, while keeping costs down:

  • Children through out the country are denied coverage every year. On September 23, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage to children under 19 because they have a pre-existing condition.
  • Insurance companies have been able to retroactively cancel a policy when the insured person becomes sick if there was an unintended mistake on insurance paperwork. On September 23, insurance companies will be prohibited from rescinding coverage for individuals and groups of people, except in the case of fraud.
  • Individuals with expensive medical bills due to chronic diseases commonly reach their lifetime limits of their policy. Once the lifetime limit is reached, the policy is revoked and it is the responsibility of the insured person to pay all future medical expenses. On September 23, insurance companies will be prohibited from including lifetime limits in all health plans issued or renewed after this date.
  • Plans issued on or after September 23 must include guidelines for not only an internal but also an external appeals process. If an insurance company denies a claim the policy holder can appeal the decision to an external reviewer not employed by the insurance company.
  • Many parents and youth worry about the day that they will no longer be able to remain on their parent’s insurance. On September 23, youth will be able to remain on their parent’s insurance plan until they turn 26.
  • Many Americans put off visiting their doctor at the first signs of an illness or issue or even for routine exams. All plans offered on or after September 23 must give policy holders free preventative care including annual check-ups, mammograms, depression screening, vaccinations for children, and many more.

For more information about these and other provisions, please visit Pennsylvania Health Access Network’s website.

Image courtesy of:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en.

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