Right now, Republicans in Congress are hard at work trying to repeal or severely weaken health care reform. Below are some of the protections and assistance already available to you as a result of health care reform that you would lose if the Republicans get their way:
- Your children can no longer be denied care for preexisting conditions.
- Your insurance company is no longer be able to cancel your plan because you get sick or put a lifetime benefit limit on your coverage. Annual benefit limits on coverage are now tightly regulated as well.
- Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees can deduct up to 35% of their health care premium costs from their taxes, making the cost of coverage cheaper.
- All insurance plans now have to report how much of your premiums they spend on care and provide you rebates if they spend too much on profits. This increased transparency will protect you and make your insurance work better for you.
- Your insurance company now has to offer you "first-dollar" coverage of preventative care, which means they have to pay for it even if you haven’t paid your full deductible.
- All Medicare Part D enrollees who enter the "doughnut hole" will get a $250 rebate check in 2010 towards filling that coverage gap. They will also get a 50% discount on all brand-name and biologic drugs in 2011, with the amount increasing every year to completely phase out the doughnut hole by 2020.
- Medicare enrollees now get a free annual wellness visit and personalized prevention services, and cost-sharing for preventative care has been eliminated.
- Overpayments to insurance companies to support their profits through the Medicare Advantage program have been frozen and will be phased down in subsequent years, which means your payments will go farther towards your care and not towards insurance company profits.
- Young adults are now able to stay on or go back to their parent’s insurance plan until they are 26 years old if they don’t have access to their own insurance through an employer.
- If in the past you’ve been denied insurance due to a preexisting condition, you can now get coverage through a temporary reduced-rate high-risk pool, which won’t be able to deny you coverage due to preexisting conditions.
- You can still get Medicaid or children’s health insurance (SCHIP) if you qualify. State Medicaid programs will be required to continue existing coverage.
- Money is being provided to expand current community health centers and create new ones, giving you access to new places for free or low-cost care.
These are just the reforms that are already in effect. Over the next couple of years even more reforms will go into effect, providing additional protections to consumers and making health care more affordable–but not if Republicans get their way. Learn more about these reforms at healthcareforamericanow.org.