Health Insurance Reform Update

-You will be required to carry affordable health insurance – If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it but in January 2014 you will be eligible to purchase health insurance in your state’s health insurance exchange, too. You can either buy it in the open market (like insurance is sold today but with greater regulation) or through your state’s health insurance exchange, a purchasing pool where subsidies are offered to make health insurance affordable.

-Your health insurance will be regulated to make it better – All health insurance policies will have to offer at least a standard comprehensive health benefit package – including free preventative care – that’s equivalent to what the largest employers offer their employees. Any policy will have to offer you coverage regardless of whether you have a pre-existing condition, and health insurers won’t be able to charge you more if you’re sick or a woman. They won’t be able to put lifetime or annual caps on your benefits, your out-of-pocket costs will be limited, and they won’t be able to jack up your rates with impunity.

-You can get tax credits to help you afford health insurance – In the exchange, you’ll be able to compare health insurance policies apples-to-apples so you know exactly what you’re buying. And you’ll receive a tax credit from the government to help you afford health insurance. The amount of your tax credit depends on your income and family size, among other things..

-You’re health insurance will be regulated to make it better – In September 2010, your health insurance company will no longer be able to cancel your health plan because you get sick or put a lifetime benefit limit on your coverage. Annual benefit limits on coverage will be tightly regulated as well.

-You will receive free preventative care – In September 2010, your insurance company will have to offer you “first-dollar” coverage of preventative care, which means they have to pay for it even if you haven’t paid your full deductible.

-Your children won’t be denied care for pre-existing conditions – In September 2010, all health insurance plans will be unable to deny care to children because of pre-existing conditions

-Insurance transparency will make your insurance better – Beginning January 2011, all insurance plans will have to report how much of your premiums they spend on care and provide you rebates if they spend too much on profits.

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