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Patient provisions of health reform law kick in

Posted September 22, 2010

— Six months after President Barack Obama signed a package of health care reforms into law, several of the provisions take effect Thursday.

Some aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act won't kick in until 2014, but various provisions aimed at boosting patients rights are effective with all new insurance plans as of Thursday. For people who get their health coverage through work, the changes will take effect when their new plans start on Jan. 1.

The changes include the following:

  • Free preventive services, meaning things like cholesterol tests, flu shots and mammograms will no longer require a co-payment or deductible.
  • College graduates can remain on their parents' health plans or re-enroll up to age 26, at no extra cost to the parents. They even qualify if they have jobs, as long as their employers don't offer coverage.
  • No more lifetime caps on payments for medications or hospital stays for people with chronic illnesses or who were injured in a serious accident.
  • Insurance companies cannot drop coverage when someone suddenly gets sick or is diagnosed with a disease. In the past, insurers could search for a technical mistake on a customer's application and then deny payment based on that mistake after the customer became ill.
  • Insurers can no longer deny coverage to children based on a pre-existing health condition.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials met with state insurance commissioners Wednesday, including North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, to discuss ways to strengthen oversight of insurance premiums and enforcing patient protections included in the new law.


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  • ghimmy51 Sep 24, 2010

    The savings on medical costs because of free PREVENTATIVE medicine will save massive money, pain and suffering as well as lives. It's my personal hope that as we get an efficient, fair and affordable health care system of FREE CHOICE of coverage and doctors that Medicare and Medicaid can be closed as everyone has insurance either purchased personally, by employers or subsidized. Massive savings.

  • ghimmy51 Sep 24, 2010

    People if you only had the facts about what's in the new law you'd understand there's nothing bad about it unless you're an insurance company executive and are worried about that bigger estate you want in the Bahamas. Insurance prices will be coming down. Finding a policy that covers what you want at a decent price is about to get easier. Insurance companies are scrambling to make their last grab. It's going to be like trying to corral a room full of cats, but HHS WILL get them in line.

  • sumpinlikedat Sep 24, 2010

    "That check from BCBS is coming with an increase in premiums next year. Its not a gift."

    Boo freakin hoo. They raise your premiums every year anyway, how is that any different than normal?

    "Also, Cigna and some other companies are dropping child only policies. Our company did that to me last month."

    Then find another way to have your child insured. It's not that darn difficult.

    "SO, this is not a good thing."

    Since when does some anecdotal evidence from one person in one town in NC make this a bad thing for everybody else? Oh wait. It doesn't.

  • Lab mom Sep 24, 2010

    Don't be fooled. That check from BCBS is coming with an increase in premiums next year. Its not a gift. Also, Cigna and some other companies are dropping child only policies. Our company did that to me last month. SO, this is not a good thing. They will figure a way around Obama. Its already happening.

  • cass122 Sep 24, 2010

    Really? You people are that ignorant to not want your child to be taken care of if they get cancer, or yourself? Oh well, i guess you don't mind population control! Keep fighting it. I really wouldn't mind if we had less people in this country.

  • fireunclescam Sep 23, 2010

    Everyone but freeloaders will be paying for this in one way or another. Nothing is free to hard working, productive individuals.

  • Reader X Sep 23, 2010

    I'm with bjeanr3, what about Medicare patients? I took my mom to find a Dr and everyone said they had openings until you mentioned the word "Medicare". Then suddenly all we got was, "oh I'm sorry, we've already met our Medicare quota." Lets see if this changes any. The baby boom generation is getting older and if that doesn't change it is going to get real bad.

  • Snookyone Sep 23, 2010

    I'm already reaping some benefits. Scheduled a colonoscopy and won't be charged a copay for it. And I'm getting a nice refund from BCBS to boot.

  • mrschizzy Sep 23, 2010

    Nothing is "free" - someone is paying for it and that would be us, the taxpayer. Repeal this awful law and start from scratch on someting that would TRULY help Americans.

  • bjeanr3 Sep 22, 2010

    How about doctors refusing to accept Medicare patients? Will they be able to continue this practice?