A Historic Day for U.S. Health Care Consumers

A Historic Day for U.S. Health Care Consumers

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health-care-robert-wood-johnsonToday marks a new day for health insurance in America. From this day forward, if you or your children get sick and you want to buy health insurance you can no longer be denied coverage due to illness.

Ending some of the worst abuses of the insurance industry, it became illegal today for health insurers to place any limits on the amount of medical care you can receive — previously known as “lifetime (or annual) caps”. Additionally, no company can arbitrarily cancel your policy without the burden of proving fraud, or deny your claims without offering options for appeal. (Watch the video below, showing the president calling one patient.)

In the past patients have reported horror stories about having their policies revoked at a critical time of cancer diagnosis just because an insurer had found evidence from a case of acne, or some other minor concern, which was unreported during the application process.

A significant relief for parents are new rights that make it easier to keep kids healthy:

  • Young adults can remain on a parent’s insurance plan until age 26.
  • No child can be denied insurance coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
  • Patients can use the nearest emergency room without penalty from “out-of-network” rules.

These new reforms will apply to all new health plans, and to many existing health plans as they are renewed. Other benefits of the Affordable Care Act have already taken effect, including rebate checks for seniors in the Medicare donut hole and tax credits for small businesses. Many of the cost-cutting measures kick-in over the next two years. (Find more info about new rights or find  insurance options at HealthCare.gov)

To celebrate the landmark day, President Obama called a woman in New Hampshire who had gotten cancer while uninsured and was slowly going broke or denying herself treatments because of her inability to purchase coverage with a pre-existing condition. Now, she is assured of getting the life-saving treatments she needs.

COMMENTS

  1. I am very pleased with these changes! Not quite enough, but it’s a fantastic start. As a self-employed person, I know firsthand how one has to jump through a million hoops to get — and keep — private insurance. These are good initial steps. I look forward to further healthcare reform.