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    Health Care Reform Frequently Asked Questions

    What is health care reform?

    Health care reform is the unofficial name for the Patient Protection and Affordable Act. It was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. The bill enacts reforms to provide affordable health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans and to reduce the growth in health care spending.
    Learn more about the Affordable Care Act at External web site icon

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    What’s the latest in health care reform?

    As of Oct. 1, 2013, people began buying health insurance on the new marketplace exchange, plans that take effect on Jan. 1, 2014. While most health care reform provisions don’t take effect until Jan. 1, some new protections have already been implemented, including:

    • Enhanced appeal procedures are available to consumers
    • Children under 19 years of age cannot be denied coverage
    • Children up to age 26 may remain on parent’s policy
    • Preventive services must be covered and cannot have cost sharing
    See a list of key changes that take effect Jan. 1, 2014:
    Timeline for Key Health Care Reform Changes

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    Will I be required to give up my current coverage and doctor?

    No. Health plans in effect as of March 23, 2010 are grandfathered under the law, meaning the government will consider these plans "qualified coverage" that meets the mandate to have health insurance that begins January 2014 as long as the insurer continues to offer the plans without substantial changes.
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    What is a grandfathered health plan?

    In this respect, a grandfathered plan is a health plan that was in place before March 23, 2010, when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. These plans are allowed to offer the coverage they did before health care reform became law.
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    How will the law affect my benefits?

    Every plan sold or renewed in the individual and small group market after Jan. 1, 2014, must include all the benefits in a “benchmark” plan—a plan chosen for the state based on coverage currently available. Essential services will include:

    • Ambulatory patient services
    • Emergency services
    • Hospitalization
    • Maternity and newborn care
    • Mental health and substance abuse disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
    • Prescription drugs
    • Rehabilitative services and devices
    • Laboratory services
    • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
    • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

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