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Health Care Reform Timeline Question & Answers

2013 October 27
by Sarah Fields

Charles asks…

What has the new health care reform done?

Do we even have it [did it pass]? I have no idea what happened to it, it like died or something.

Right, so what exactly did it do?

Sarah Fields answers:

Within the first year (2010)

• Young adults will be able stay on their parents’ insurance until their 26th birthday.

• Seniors will get a $250 rebate to help fill the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug coverage, which falls between the $2,700 initial limit and when catastrophic coverage kicks in at $6,154.

• Insurers will be barred from imposing exclusions on children with pre-existing conditions. Pools will cover those with pre-existing health conditions until health care coverage exchanges are operational.

• Insurers will not be able to rescind policies to avoid paying medical bills when a person becomes ill.

• Lifetime limits on benefits and restrictive annual limits will be prohibited.

• New plans must provide coverage for preventive services without co-pays. All plans must comply by 2018.

• A temporary reinsurance program will help offset costs of coverage for companies that provide early retiree health benefits for those ages 55 to 64.

• New plans will be required to implement an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.

• Adoption tax credit and assistance exclusion will increase by $1,000. The bill makes the credit refundable and extends it through 2011.

• A 10 percent tax will be imposed on amounts paid for indoor tanning services on or after July 1.

• Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering 35 percent of their health care premiums, increasing to 50 percent by 2014.


Thomas asks…

Website with health care bill information?

I’m doing a news article on Barack Obama’s new health care bill for my school newspaper, and I’m trying to get all the valid and credible bits of information I can get. My problem is that there is so much conflicting information all over the internet. If anybody could provide me with a legitimate website that I could collect information from, that would be great.

Sarah Fields answers:

Health care reform bill would provide immediate benefits

Timeline: When health care reform will affect you

Health Care Reform Bill Summary

reform bill details & summaries

Cost of the status quo (before reform passed):
According to David Frum (special assistant to president, 2001-2), between 2000 and 2007, the cost of the average insurance policy for a family of four doubled. See In this question I show a back-of-the envelope estimate of the cost of maintaining the status quo;_ylt=AirVVzkXd37O1CEFU8feEo3ty6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20090916131445AAO0ltM&show=7#profile-info-S4549Rqwaa We can’t afford to maintain the status quo, but if we did it would cost $8 to $9 trillion spread over the next 10 years.

Amounts paid by other similar developed nations that have universal care:

The fact is that in the USA we pay nearly *twice* what Europeans pay for health care, and we have both higher infant mortality and lower life expectancy than most European countries. In the table below, im = infant mortality and L = life expectancy. See for infant mortality and life expectancy; see for costs.

United States — im= 6.4, L= 78.0, cost $7290, 16.0% of GDP
Canada ——— im= 4.6, L= 80.3, cost $3895, 10.1% of GDP

Austria ——– im= 4.5, L= 79.2, cost $3763, 10.1% of GDP
United Kingdom — im= 5.0, L= 78.7, cost $2992, 8.4% of GDP
Denmark —— im= 4.5, L= 78.0, cost $3362, 10.4% of GDP
Finland ——- im= 3.5, L= 78.7, cost $2840, 8.2% of GDP
France ——– im= 4.2, L= 79.9, cost $4763, 11.0% of GDP
Germany —— im= 4.1, L= 79.0, cost $3527, 10.4% of GDP
Greece ——– im= 5.3, L= 79.4, cost $2727, 9.6% of GDP
Italy ———– im= 5.7, L= 79.9, cost $2686, 8.7% of GDP
Norway ——- im= 3.6, L= 79.7, cost $4763, 8.9% of GDP
Spain ——— im= 4.3, L= 79.8, cost $2671, 8.5% of GDP
Sweden ——- im= 2.8, L= 80.6, cost $3323, 9.1% of GDP
Switzerland — im= 4.3, L= 80.6, cost $4417, 10.8% of GDP

USA has 36 days longer life expectancy than these two countries!
Ireland ——- im= 5.2, L= 77.9, cost $3424, 7.6% of GDP
Portugal —– im= 4.9, L= 77.9, cost $2150, 9.9% of GDP

The malpractice myth:

Some folks blame our high costs on malpractice insurance. But the numbers don’t support that. A recent CBO estimate says malpractice reform might save half a percent of expenditures. Another estimate: including legal fees, insurance costs, and payouts, the cost of the suits comes to less than 1.5 percent of health-care spending. See and Along those lines, it’s interesting to note that a number of states already have “caps and tort reform” yet the insurance companies have not lowered the cost of malpractice insurance in those states. Finally, most malpractice cases occur in state court where the Federal government has no juristiction. See


Lizzie asks…

Can someone please summarize what the health care reform bill is?

In plain down to earth english!!!

& is it active right now? did they ever pass it? what’s going on right now with it exactly?

i’m in high school and have to write a paper about it for english (even though this has nothing to do with english) and i know NOTHING about it. i’ve tried doing research on it but it’s confusing.


Sarah Fields answers:

The bill was passed. And it’s not health *care* reform, it’s health *insurance* reform.

All the provisions in the law won’t take effect until 2014, when people without employer coverage and small businesses will be able to purchase affordable insurance in a competitive marketplace, or exchange. Also, in 2014, everyone will be required to have health insurance or pay a fee; those who can’t find affordable coverage will be exempt. Large employers who do not provide minimal essential coverage will have to pay a penalty.

Here’s a basic implementation timeline:

Currently in place (pardon the cut and paste):
* It is now illegal for an insurance company to deny payment for treatment or cancel your coverage after you get sick because of an error or technical mistake on your application. Policies can be canceled only on the basis of fraud.
* Rules prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to children under the age of 19 due to a pre-existing condition.
* Insurance companies are prohibited from imposing lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits, like hospital stays.
* Preventive care: All new health plans must cover certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without charging a deductible, copay, or coinsurance.
* Young adults can stay on their parent’s plan until they turn 26 years old (unless they have a job that provides it).
* Small business owners (with up to 25 employees and average annual wages of less than $50,000) can get a tax credit of up to 35% of the employer cost of providing employee insurance; this goes up to 50% in 2014 if purchased through an insurance exchange.
* States can receive federal matching funds to provide Medicaid coverage for low-income childless adults. States will be required to provide this coverage in 2014.
* Seniors get a 50 percent discount when buying Part D-approved brand-name drugs. Additional savings will kick in until the coverage gap is closed in 2020. Seniors on Medicare will also receive certain free preventive services beginning in January.
* A temporary reinsurance program has been created to help employers continue to provide health insurance coverage to early retirees over age 55 who are not eligible for Medicare as well as their spouses and families.
* Individuals who have been uninsured for at least six months because of a pre-existing condition have new insurance options through a Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. In 2014, all discrimination against pre-existing conditions will be prohibited.

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