Skip to content

    Health Care Reform:

    Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

    Health Reform Law Timeline

    2010 Changes continued...

    Provision: No More Lifetime Limits

    Effective: Sept. 23, 2010

    Both individual and group health plans renewing on or after Sept. 23, 2010, can no longer place a lifetime dollar limit on most medical benefits. Prior to the law’s enactment, 50% of people with employer insurance and 89% of people who purchased coverage on their own had a lifetime limit on benefits.

    Impact: The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 105 million Americans now have expanded insurance coverage as a result of this provision.

    2011 Changes

    Provision: Drug Discounts for People on Medicare

    Effective: Jan. 1, 2011

    Seniors who reach the “doughnut hole” or gap in Medicare Part Dprescription drug coverage receive a 50% discount on covered brand-name drugs, as well as a discount on generics (7% in 2011, 14% in 2012). Seniors will pay an increasingly smaller portion of their drug costs until the coverage gap closes entirely in 2020.

    Impact: More than 5.35 million seniors enrolled in part D drug plans saved $3.7 billion between March 2010 and December 2011.

    Provision: Ensuring That Insurance Premiums Go to Health Care

    Effective: Jan. 1, 2011

    Insurers are required to spend 85% of all premiums they collect on health care services for large employer plans, as opposed to administrative costs or profits, and at least 80% for individual and small employer health plans. Insurance companies that fail to meet minimum spending requirements will be required to give rebates to their customers. Rebates are scheduled to begin later this year.

    Impact: In August 2012, 12.8 million Americans are expected to receive rebates worth $1.1 billion.

    Provision: Free Preventive Care for Seniors

    Effective: Jan. 1, 2011

    Seniors with Medicare coverage no longer pay annual deductibles, co-pays, or coinsurance for preventive medical services such as annual wellness visits, or heart disease and cancer screenings such as mammographies and colonoscopies.

    Impact: Thirty-two million Medicare recipients have received free preventive services under the new law.

    2012 Changes

    Provision: Free Coverage for Contraceptives

    Effective: Aug. 1, 2012

    Women with new health plans can obtain contraceptives without paying any out-of-pocket costs. Religious employers, such as churches, are exempt from this requirement. The insurance companies providing health plans to employers with religious affiliations will be required to cover the cost of contraceptives, not the employer. The Obama administration extended the time until August of 2013 for religious institutions to comply with the law.

    Today on WebMD

    stethoscope on person's chest
    Your Marketplace choices,
    How not to waste money on health care.
    man in cafe looking at computer
    Finding low-cost health insurance.
    doctor showing girl a stethoscope
    Get the facts on health insurance.
    Loading …
    URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices