Unfair health insurance policies end today, thanks to Affordable Care Act

Six months ago President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act. Today is a very exciting because the Patients’ Bill of Rights protections kick into gear. This Bill of Rights will help thousands of children and families keep and maintain their health insurance.

Our friends at Georgetown Center for Children and Families released a new report, September 23 Health Care Reforms: Making Insurance Work for Children and Families, detailing the specifics that take effect today.

So what can we be excited about?

For children and young adults:

  • Most insurers cannot deny coverage to children based on pre-existing conditions (such as diabetes or autism) (Note: this will apply to adults, also, starting in 2014).
  • Young  adults can stay on their parents health insurance until age 26

For everyone:

  • Keeps insurers from canceling your health coverage when you get sick
  • Most private insurance plans will have to provide free preventive services (such as immunizations or breast cancer screenings) to consumers (no co-pays)
  • Helps protect your choice of primary care doctor.  Most women can go directly to their OB/GYN without a referral
  • Prohibits most insurers from charging more when you have to get emergency care outside your plan’s network

For those with chronic health conditions / catastrophic illness:

  • No lifetime limits on coverage
  • Most insurers can have annual coverage limit no lower than $750,000, the first step towards prohibiting insurers from imposing any annual limits on essential benefits

For more information, see the summary at healthcare.gov or the Patient’s Bill of Rights

Need more information on what health reform means for you? If you’re looking for other ways to educate yourself on the new law, check out Health Reform Hits Main Street a helpful cartoon that the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation put together.

Still left wanting more? The Arkansas Finish Line Coalition and AACF are hosting a daylong summit on Sept 29th, “Child Health in an Era of Health Reform”   Contact Joyce Hardy, AACF Health Outreach Coordinator  for more information