While the debate continues as to whether or not President Obama’s Health Care Reform Plan is beneficial for the country long term, several provisions of that plan took effect this week and are now enforceable by law.
Two of these changes, effective September 23, pertain specifically to children. No longer can children be denied coverage by an insurance company because of pre-existing health conditions and health coverage for children may continue under their parents’ insurance policies until they reach 26 years of age. (1)
Other changes forbid insurance companies from:
• placing a cap on benefits a person can receive over a lifetime;
• ending coverage for any reason other than the customer committing fraud;
• charging for such preventive services as colonoscopies and mammograms.
The final change that took effect requires mandatory coverage for high-risk pools of people who, in the past, were denied coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions. (1)
How do these changes affect New Jersey residents specifically? Healthcare reform reports from The White House provide a breakdown, which includes the following:
• 5,292,000 New Jersey residents with private insurance will no longer have to worry about their coverage being rescinded or limits being imposed on the amount of benefits or treatment they may receive; (2)
• about 27,800 young adults can continue to be covered under their parents’ policies until the age of 26; (2)
• 1,280,000 Medicare beneficiaries will be eligible for certain benefits, such as free preventive services; (3)
• 109,000 residents could receive rebates as a result of closing the gap in prescription drug coverage under Medicare; and (3)
• 144,000 small businesses could receive tax credits this year. (3)
While the Administration claims the new laws are already “making a difference in the lives of millions of Americans,” opponents are afraid that increasing premiums, greater government involvement and growing debt will have an adverse affect on the country. (1) Time will tell.