Owens Announces Key Health Care Provisions To Take Effect Immediately
Congressman Bill Owens today announced the key provisions of the recently passed health care reform package that will take effect immediately after the President signs the measure into law. Owens recently voted to pass the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act to decrease costs for small businesses and patients, as well as to extend access to affordable care to 27,000 uninsured Upstate New Yorkers.
"Families and small business owners need immediate help, and this bill is the right kind of assistance at the right time," said Owens. "Not only will this immediately extend tax cuts to our small business owners, but it will improve insurance coverage for over 400,000 people in Upstate New York. I am pleased to see this fast-acting legislation because our working families need it now more than ever."
As the President signs the health care reform package into law, the following key provisions will take effect either immediately or in the next six months:
* Small Business Tax Credits: offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available to firms that choose to offer coverage. This is effective beginning calendar year 2010. Beginning in 2014, small business tax credits will increase to cover 50 percent of premiums.
* Closing the Medicare Part D Donut Hole: provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the Medicare Part D coverage gap in 2010. This is effective beginning calendar year 2010. It is estimated that this provision will completely close the coverage gap by 2020.
* Increasing Number of Primary Care Doctors: provides new investment in training programs to increase the number of primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals. This is effective beginning fiscal year 2010.
* Community Health Centers: Increasing funding for Community Health Centers to allow for nearly a doubling of the number of patients seen by the centers over the next 5 years. This will create jobs and ensure that patients are seen in a timely manner. Effective beginning fiscal year 2010.
* Health Insurance Consumer Information: provides aid to states in establishing offices of health insurance consumer assistance in order to help individuals with the filing of complaints and appeals. Effective beginning fiscal year 2010.
* Help for Early Retirees: Creates a temporary re-insurance program to help offset the costs of expensive health claims for employers that provide health benefits for retirees age 55-64. Effective 90 days after enactment.
* Ends Rescissions: Bans health plans from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Effective 6 months after enactment.
* Bans Lifetime Limits on Coverage: Prohibits health plans from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Effective 6 months after enactment.
* Extends Coverage for Young People Up to 26th Birthday Through Parents' Insurance: Requires health plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents' insurances policy, at the parents' choice. Effective 6 months after enactment.
* Free Preventative Care Under Private Plans: Requires new private plans to cover preventative services with no co-payments and with preventative services being exempt from deductibles. Effective 6 months after enactment. Beginning in 2018, this requirement applies to all plans.
* No Discrimination Against Children with Preexisting Conditions: Prohibits health plans from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions. Effective 6 months after enactment. Beginning in 2014, this prohibition would apply to all persons.
* Bans Restrictive Annual Limits on Coverage: Tightly restricts new plans' use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care. Effective 6 months after enactment