July 9, 2010
Info clearinghouse for Affordable Care Act
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched an innovative website, HealthCare.gov, as implementation of the historic Affordable Care Act began July 1. The new site is a clearinghouse for information about the new law, but it’s also an important tool for consumers.
With a few mouse clicks at HealthCare.gov, you can find insurance options, learn about prevention, compare care quality, understand the new law, and find information tailored for you. Get a quick introduction to some of the most important features of HealthCare.gov by watching this video by HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius:
Just the beginning of reforms
The Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama last March, went into effect on July 1, 2010. While it will take time for the new law to be fully implemented, several important aspects have already gone into effect:
- Cash rebates for seniors who fall into the Medicare Part D prescription drug “doughnut hole”, which the law will ultimately close.
- Tax credits for small businesses of up to 35% the employer’s cost to provide insurance to employees.
- Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan established nationwide for people unable to buy insurance to bridge the gap until 2014 when such discrimination will be outlawed.
- Matching federal dollars for states to afford to expand Medicaid coverage for the poor.
- $2.5 billion in aid to states to help agencies evaluate and fight unwarranted insurance company premiums increases.
- Creation of the HealthCare.gov website to help consumers compare coverage options and monitor implementation of the Act.
Beginning in September of this year, several more provisions will go into effect, including an end to insurance company abuses like rescinding your coverage when you get sick, allowing young adults to join or stay on their parent’s policy, mandating free preventative care, eliminating lifetime benefit caps, and eliminating denial of coverage for children with pre-existing conditions.
Be sure to check out the timeline for more information about these reforms and what’s to come thanks to the Affordable Care Act.