A New Day for American Consumers
September 23, 2010 represents a new day for American consumers in our health care system. This is the day that a series of new rights, benefits, and protections under the Affordable Care Act will begin to bring to an end some of the worst abuses of the insurance industry. Combined, these new provisions will put consumers, not insurance companies, in charge of their health care. Below is a brief summary of the new restrictions for insurance companies and new rights for consumers beginning to take effect:
Insurers Will No Longer Be Able To:
- Deny coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions. Health plans cannot limit or deny benefits or deny coverage for a child younger than age 19 simply because the child has a pre-existing condition like asthma.
- Put lifetime limits on benefits. Health plans can no longer put a lifetime dollar limit on the benefits of people with costly conditions like cancer
- Cancel your policy without proving fraud. Health plans can’t retroactively cancel insurance coverage – often at the time you need it most - solely because you or your employer made an honest mistake on your insurance application.
- Deny claims without a chance for appeal. In new health plans, you now have the right to demand that your health plan reconsider a decision to deny payment for a test or treatment. That also includes an external appeal to an independent reviewer.
Consumers in New Health Plans Will Be Able to:
- Receive cost-free preventive services. New health plans must give you access to recommended preventive services such as screenings, vaccinations and counseling without any out-of-pocket costs to you.
- Keep young adults on a parent’s plan until age 26. If your health plan covers children, you can now most likely add or keep your children on your health insurance policy until they turn 26 years old if they don’t have coverage on the job.
- Choose a primary care doctor, ob/gyn and pediatrician. New health plans must let you choose the primary care doctor or pediatrician you want from your health plan’s provider network and let you see an OB-GYN doctor without needing a referral from another doctor.
- Use the nearest emergency room without penalty. New health plans can’t require you to get prior approval before seeking emergency room services from a provider or hospital outside your plan’s network – and they can’t require higher copayments or co-insurance for out-of-network emergency room services.
See a timeline of all major provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Posted: September 23, 2010