One year after the Patient's Bill of Rights in the Affordable Care Act began to go into effect, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard announced that millions of Americans are benefiting from the improved health care coverage and lower costs.
The protections of the Patient's Bill of Rights became effective for all plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010. That means that, by now, one year later, all Americans with private health plans are now receiving the protections of the Bill of Rights.
"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans are experiencing the benefits of health care reform. Seniors are receiving 50 percent discounts on brand-name drugs when they are in the Medicare Part D "donut hole' coverage gap, young adults are being allowed to stay on their parents' insurance, insurance companies have stopped their practice of dropping people's coverage when they need it the most, and outrageous premium hikes have been reversed," said Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard who supported the legislation. "These overdue protections effectively make insurance companies accountable and puts Americans, not insurance companies or bureaucrats, in charge of their health care. I am proud that these reforms are a reality and making a difference in people's lives and I will keep fighting to defend them until all of the reforms are fully implemented," Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard said.
Under the Patient's Bill of Rights, if you are one of the 165 million Americans with private insurance, you are now receiving the following protections:
* You can no longer be arbitrarily dropped from coverage by your insurance company simply because you get sick.
* Your insurance company can no longer place a lifetime limit on your coverage.
* Your insurance company can no longer place low annual limits on your coverage.
* If you are under age 65 and in a new plan, you are now receiving free key preventive services.
In addition, because of the Patient's Bill of Rights:
* If you are a young adult, you can now stay on your parents' health plan until your 26th birthday, if you do not have coverage of your own. Because of this provision, one million additional young people have gained coverage over the last year.
* If you have a child under age 19, they can no longer be denied coverage by an insurance company for having a "pre-existing condition." Up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions are now protected from discrimination.
In addition to the Patient's Bill of Rights, the Affordable Care Act also provided new Medicare benefits for America's seniors, which became effective on January 1, 2011. These new Medicare benefits include the following:
* Seniors are now receiving a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs when they are in the Medicare Part D "donut hole' coverage gap. Nearly 1.3 million seniors have already received the discount.
* Seniors are now receiving free key preventive health services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, under Medicare. Nearly 19 million seniors have already received one or more free preventive services.
* Seniors are now receiving a free Annual Wellness Visit under Medicare. 1.3 million seniors have already taken advantage of the new free Annual Wellness Visit.
Finally, for small businesses, the Affordable Care Act is providing tax credits of up to 35 percent of employer premium contributions for those small businesses that choose to offer coverage. The tax credits became effective beginning for tax year 2010. There are up to 4 million small businesses that are eligible for this tax credit.
To learn more about these provisions and other ways that health care reform will help you, please visit www.healthcare.gov.