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Health Reform and You

Health Reform and You
What does the passing of health reform actually mean for consumers? KFF Health News reports on the impact of the new legislation.



What The New Health Law Means For You

Phil Galewitz

The law will extend health insurance to 32 million currently uninsured Americans by 2019, and will also have an impact on how nearly every American buys insurance and what insurance must cover. (June 2, 2010)

Health Law Guarantees Protections For Emergency Room Visits

Maggie Mertens

The new health law mandates that insurers cannot pay less for emergency care in “out-of-network” hospitals and eases consumer worries about having to pre-authorize an emergency room visit. (May 13, 2010)

Companies Get Help To Insure Early Retirees

Christopher Weaver

Companies that provide health insurance to retirees who are too young for Medicare may get some financial relief due to a new $5 billion federal program. (May 10, 2010)

Consumer Confusion Triggers Crackdown By States On Discount Health Plans  
Maggie Mertens

In discount health plans, consumers pay a fee for access to a network that offers reduced charges for doctor visits and other care, but the patient is responsible for paying all costs up front. State officials and consumer groups say some of the plans are not legitimate. (Apr 28, 2010)

Federal Employee Health Program Unlikely To Extend Young Adult Coverage On Parents’ Plan This Year  
Jessica Marcy 

The federal government says current law will likely keep it from following the lead of some private insurance companies that will begin offering coverage this year to young adults. (Apr 27, 2010)

Changes Coming To Insurance Plans  
Julie Appleby

Consumers soon will see plans without lifetime coverage limits or the ability to drop enrollees retroactively, plus there will be added benefits for children and reviews of rate increases. (Apr 6, 2010)

Flexible Spending Accounts Getting Slightly Less Flexible
Andrew Villegas

Lawmakers have changed the way flexible spending accounts are treated in order — they say — to discourage wasteful health care spending at the end of the year. (Apr 5, 2010)

Insurance Protection For Adult Children Won’t Come Fast Enough For Some Parents
Michelle Andrews

A much-publicized provision of the new health overhaul law would give parents the option of keeping adult children on their insurance plans until age 26, but many details affecting eligibility and timing remain to be worked out. (Apr 2, 2010)

True or False: Seven Concerns About The New Health Law
KFF Health News Staff

The bill signed by President Obama is long and technical, so it’s no wonder that consumers are confused. KFF Health News staff writers check out several key concerns. (Mar 31, 2010)

Closing Medicare Drug Gap Helps Democrats Sell Reform
Christopher Weaver

Now that the health overhaul has passed Congress, Democratic lawmakers are hoping to highlight its most immediate benefits. Chief among them: a plan to help millions of elderly and disabled Medicare beneficiaries pay for their medications by gradually eliminating a drug-coverage gap commonly known as the “doughnut hole.” (Mar 29, 2010)

The First Test Of New Health Law: Covering Hard-To-Insure People
Mary Agnes Carey

It’s the first and one of the hardest tests of the Democrats’ ambitious plan to overhaul the nation’s health care system: in the next 90 days establishing a federally funded program to cover people turned down by private insurers because they have a pre-existing medical condition. (Mar 26, 2010)

Some Will Remain Uninsured After Reform
Maggie Mertens

When President Obama signed health care overhaul into law Tuesday, did he fulfill a campaign promise to “bring health care to all?” (Mar 24, 2010)

The Immediate Effects Of The Health Reform Bill
Julie Appleby and Kate Steadman

Obama administration officials and wonks call them “early deliverables.” They’re the benefits of the health legislation that would kick in this election year. (Mar 22, 2010)

‘Cadillac’ Insurance Plans Explained
Jenny Gold

The Democrats final health bill negotiated by the House, Senate and White House released Thursday contains a scaled-back tax on high-cost insurance policies. Here is a brief guide to these types of insurance plans. (Mar 18, 2010) 

Carrot-And-Stick Health Plans Aim To Cut Costs
Julie Appleby

Workers at a Portland, Ore., steel mill soon will be able to pick a new type of insurance that offers free care for some illnesses, such as diabetes or depression, but requires hefty extra fees for treatments deemed overused, including knee replacements, hysterectomies and heart bypass surgery. The insurance, which will be offered by five different insurers in Oregon, is the most far-reaching and potentially controversial step in an effort by employers nationally to rein in medical spending by redesigning health benefits. (Mar 11, 2010)

How Health Reform Could Affect The ‘Young Invincibles’
Phil Galewitz

That’s igniting a fierce debate over how much young adults – sometimes known as the “young invincibles” because many don’t believe they need insurance – would benefit from “catastrophic” illness plans that would make insurance less of a financial burden, but would require high deductibles – at least $5,950 in out-of-pocket spending before most benefits kicked in. (Mar 8, 2010)

How Health Overhaul Would Affect The Uninsured
Christopher Weaver

As Democrats have pushed for a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s health system, much of their plans and rhetoric have focused on providing coverage for America’s uninsured. Here’s a look at who those Americans are. (Feb 10, 2010)

Obama’s Budget Increases Funding for Medical Research That Compares Treatment Options
Mary Agnes Carey and Julie Appleby

The Obama administration, in an effort to forge ahead with its sometimes-contentious effort to compare various medical treatments, is proposing a big boost in funding for the agency that oversees the research. (Feb 1, 2010)

Accountable Care Organizations: A Quick Primer
Phil Galewitz

Imagine a health system that pays doctors and hospitals to keep you well, not just treat you when you’re sick. A system where doctors would have a financial incentive to limit unnecessary tests and prod patients to exercise more and eat better. A system where hospitals would benefit from – now this is really radical – keeping you out of the hospital. (Jul 17, 2009)