How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect Your Health Care? –

The U.S. Supreme Court decided to uphold the legality and constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The decision was a major victory for Pres. Barack Obama, affirming the primary legislative achievement of his administration. Along with the approval comes the realization of how the act will impact our healthcare system.

The following are some of the things that you must know about the Affordable Care Act:

  1. Coverage for pre-existing conditions – Health insurance providers can no longer deny or limit coverage to policy owners under the age of 19 due to pre-existing conditions. Beginning 2014, this provision will apply to adults as well.
  2. Lifetime and annual limits – Prior to the enactment of the law, health insurance companies can set a lifetime dollar limit on benefits. Because of the affordable care act, they can no longer do this on essential health benefits which include the following:
    • Ambulatory patient services
    • Emergency services
    • Hospitalization
    • Maternity and newborn care
    • Mental health
    • Prescription drugs
    • Rehabilitative services and devices
    • Laboratory services
    • Preventive and wellness services
    • Chronic disease management
    • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

    By year 2014, health insurance companies can also no longer be able to limit the amount they spend on benefits each year.

  3. Dropping of coverage due to paperwork technicality – Plans can no longer be terminated or cancelled due to a mistake in your application.
  4. New health insurance plans are required to provide comprehensive coverage for preventive services including the following:
    For women:
    • Contraception and contraceptive counseling
    • Folic acid supplements
    • HPV DNA testing
    • Breast cancer screening
    • STI and HIV screening and counseling
    • Domestic violence screening and counseling
    For pregnant women:
    • Pre-natal care visit
    • Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
    • Tobacco counseling and cessation intervention
    • Rh incompatibility screening
    • Iron deficiency anemia screening
    • Gestational diabetes screening
    • Infection screening
    • Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
    For newborns:
    • Gonorrhea preventive medication for the eyes
    • Screening for congenital hypothyroidism, hearing problems, phenylketonuria and sickle cell anemia
    For all children:
    • Immunizations
    • Medical screenings
    • Oral health risks assessment
    • Fluoride supplements
    • Iron supplements
    • Lead screening
    • Autism screening
    • Tuberculosis testing
    • Dyslipidemia screening
  5. Everyone in America must have health insurance coverage. Otherwise, there will be tax penalties.

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