The calendar says today is the first day of Autumn. Say it isn’t so! Where did summer go?
Today is also the first day that new provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) go into effect. The health care reform legislation was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. And while the biggest changes may not be seen for a few years yet, many notable changes will begin today, six months to the day of the PPACA becoming law.
- Children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health insurance coverage. Employer-based plans and new individual plans are now prohibited from denying coverage to children based solely on pre-existing conditions.
As expected, many large health insurance companies have already discontinued sales of new individual health insurance policies to children. “Given the current uncertainty in the niche marketplace for child-only coverage, health plans have to make very difficult decisions about the types of new policies they will offer,” says Robert Zirkelbach, press secretary for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the national association representing health insurance providers.
- Children will now be able to remain on their parent’s health insurance plan until at least age 26. Some states will even allow dependent children to remain on their parents’ plan until age 30. Health insurance companies seemed to embrace this provision when they started allowing this as early as May of this year.
- No more lifetime limits on health insurance coverage. Until now, most plans had lifetime maximums on total benefits. Starting today those lifetime maximums are no longer allowed on new plans. And annual limitations will be disallowed completely by 2014.
- Coverage cannot be canceled by the health insurance company because of errors on your application. However, if the insurance company can prove your application was fraudulent, coverage can be rescinded and claims denied.
- Certain preventative services must be provided to you free of charge. These include specific screening, immunizations, and tests. Services must be provided by a network provider to be covered. The list of preventative services is quite extensive and can be viewed here.
While these are some of the more prominent provisions of the PPACA that kick in today, there are plenty more. You can view a complete timeline of provisions of the Act at www.healthcare.gov.