Washington, D.C. - The Health Information Center (HIC) calls attention today to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will take effect in the New Year. In 2011, the new health care law will help Americans get more care for their health care dollar, provide free wellness exams to Medicare patients, and end wasteful overpayments to insurance companies.
"In September millions of Americans got their first taste of benefits in the new health care law," said HIC President Andrew Grossman. "In 2011, millions more will begin to feel much needed relief as their coverage becomes more stable and secure. The days when people worried about losing their coverage or bankrupt if they got sick, are over."
Some of the provisions taking effect in 2011 include:
- Further closing the "donut hole": Medicare recipients who hit a gap in coverage will now receive a 50 percent discount on covered prescription drugs.
- Giving consumers more for their money: Insurers must now spend between 80 and 85 percent of all premium dollars on health care services and quality improvements.
- Reining in Medicare costs: By ending overpayments to Medicare Advantage, the law will lower costs for Medicare beneficiaries. In addition, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation will begin studying new ways to improve quality and affordability for Medicare and Medicaid enrollees.
- Assisting states with implementation: States will begin receiving funds in March to help plan for the establishment of individual and small business insurance exchanges.
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law by the President March 23. Already it has:
- Provided tax credits to up to 4 million small businesses to help them provide insurance to their employees. [HealthReform.gov]
- Extended access to coverage to the 30 percent of young adults up to age 26 who previously had no health coverage, by allowing them to remain on their parents' health plans. [CNN, 5/12/10]
- Protected 5 million children with pre-existing conditions who can no longer be denied health coverage. [FamiliesUSA]
- Provided 4 million seniors with $250 rebates to begin closing the Medicare "donut hole." [CNN, 6/7/10]
HIC is a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about health care reform and serve as the voice of the Affordable Care Act supporting its implementation.