On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act, which puts in place significant changes in the healthcare reform.
In an effort to protect consumers, lower costs, guarantee choices and enhance quality healthcare for all Americans, the Act has put in place some key provisions that took effect in 2010 and additional provisions that will be implemented in the next few years.
This brief timeline highlights some of the key provisions.
Providing Small Businesses Health Insurance Tax Credit – January 1, 2010
This tax credit helps small businesses provide for the first time, or continue to provide health insurance coverage to their employees. The incentive is a credit worth up to 35% of the employer’s contribution to the employee’s premium. This provision also applies to non-profit organizations.
Closing the “Donut Hole” – Starting in 2010
“Donute Hole” refers to the gap in prescription coverage present in most Medicare Part D plans. A $250 tax-free rebate from medicare was issued to about 4 million seniors last year. Starting in 2011, a 50% discount will be in place for Medicare participants who experience the “Donut Hole”.
Expanding Coverage for Early Retirees – Applications started June 1, 2010
The program under the new law allocates $5 billion towards preserving employer-sponsored health insurance for early retirees until 2014, when more affordable coverage will be available through the new Exchanges.
Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan – July 1, 2010
This new plan provides coverage to individuals who have a pre-existing condition and have been uninsured for at least 6 months. The Department of Health and Human Services of each state will establish plans should the state choose not to run this program.
Extending Coverage for Young Adults – September 23, 2010
Effective for plan years starting on or after Sept 23, 2010, the new law allows dependent children to stay on their parent’s health plan until their 26th birthday, as long as the dependent is not offered coverage through his/her work.
Free Preventive Care – September 23, 2010
Effective for plan years starting on or after Sept 23, 2010, certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies must be covered by new plans. Services are free of charge (deductible, co-pay or coinsurance).
Eliminating Lifetime Limits – September 23, 2010
Effective for plan years beginning on or after Sept 23, 2010, no lifetime dollar limits will be allowed on essential benefits, like hospital stays.