Real Health Care Benefits Kick In Thursday
While conservatives are busying saying “no,” some real health care reform begins Thursday. Among the benefits:
- Teens and young adults can stay on or be added to their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26. They don’t need to live with their parents or be financially dependent on them. They can even be married.
- Insurers must completely cover a wide range of recommended preventive services — such as immunizations, mammograms and colonoscopies — and can no longer charge co-payments, co-insurance or deductibles for them. (for non-grandfathered plans)
- New rules prevent insurers from denying coverage to children under age 19 with pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or cancer.
- Insurers no longer can use a mistake or technical error in a consumer’s application to cut off their coverage after they get sick.
- The amount a plan will pay in a person’s lifetime cannot be capped.Insurance companies with annual limits on essential health benefits must provide an increasing amount of coverage. Initially, their annual limit can be no less than $750,000, rising to $1.25 million in September 2011 and $2 million in 2012. Annual limits are prohibited in 2014.
- Consumers have the right to appeal insurers’ decisions through their plans’ internal review processes, as well as to an independent, third-party reviewer.
Americans need to be aware of these improvements, and Democrats and the White House should learn to be as effective in pounding home these points as conservatives are.