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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Health Reform Law Timeline

2012 Changes continued...

In addition, women will have access to free preventive services, including annual well-women visits, screening for gestational diabetes, testing for the HPV virus, HIV counseling and screening, and lactation counseling. This provision does not apply to grandfathered health plans.

Provision: Clearer Insurance Coverage Descriptions

Effective: Sept. 23, 2012

The law requires insurers to provide consumers with a uniform, plain-language summary of health plans’ benefits and coverage. The goal is to make it easier for people to understand the contents of each benefit package and to compare health insurance coverage options before they enroll. Included in the summaries will be examples of how much it would cost under each plan for common medical scenarios, such as managing type 2 diabetes and having a baby.

2013 Implementations

Provision: Expanded Coverage for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Effective: Oct. 1, 2013

CHIP programs provide low-cost health insurance for children living in families who earn too much income to qualify for Medicaid, but can’t afford to buy health insurance on their own. States will receive an additional two years of federal funding to maintain and expand coverage for millions of children not eligible for Medicaid.

2014 Implementations

Provision: Health Insurance Exchanges

Start Date: Jan. 1, 2014

The law calls for the creation of state-based health insurance exchanges, or online marketplaces selling health insurance. Exchanges will be created for individuals who don’t get insurance at work, as well as Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges where businesses with up to 100 employees can purchase insurance coverage. The exchanges will offer the full range of both private and public health insurance options.

Provision: Requirement to Have Health Insurance

Effective: Jan. 1, 2014

All U.S. citizens and legal residents will be required to have health insurance or pay a penalty to help offset the cost of providing medical care to people who are uninsured.  

Provision: Premium Subsidies

Effective: Jan. 1, 2014

Families with incomes between 133% and 400% of the poverty level (up to $92,200 annually for a family of four in 2012) will receive financial assistance from the federal government to purchase insurance through the exchanges.

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