Now that the Affordable Care Act has been signed into law, you may be wondering what's changed and how it will affect your access to quality health care for you and your family. Much of that will depend on your individual circumstances and the established timeline for implementing the various provisions of the Act.
Generally, the most significant changes are in the following areas:
- Expansion of Coverage - These provisions increase the number of people eligible for Medicaid, lay the groundwork for a marketplace where individuals and small business can buy insurance, and extend coverage for adult children up to age 26 on their parents' insurance plans.
- Consumer Protections - These provisions regulate insurance company practices that impact eligibility, including pre-existing conditions, limits on annual and lifetime benefits, and policy cancellations.
- Impact on Medicare - These provisions extend the life of the Medicare program by cutting waste and introducing efficiencies. They also expand coverage of prescription drugs, preventive services, and annual physicals for people over 65, and scale back benefits in the Medicare Advantage program to reduce costs.
Gaining an understanding of these provisions of the new law will help you identify its impact on your access to care and your options for paying for that care so you can better identify and gather the resources and healthcare team you need to get better and stay healthy.