The key provisions include:
- End to coverage denials for children with pre-existing conditions - Employer-sponsored plans and new individual policies can no longer refuse coverage to children under 19 because of a serious medical condition.
- Extension of young adults’ coverage - Health plans are required to allow adult children to remain on their parents’ policies up to age 26 if the adult child is not offered employer-sponsored coverage.
- Restriction on yearly dollar coverage limits - Employer plans and new individual policies can no longer impose annual coverage limits under $750,000 for “essential” health benefits including hospital care, drugs, emergency services and maternal and newborn care - The maximum limit increases each year and is eliminated in 2014.
- Free preventive care - New health insurance plans must cover certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without charging a deductible or co-pay.
Rate hikes that weren't suppose to happen
The office of Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts has called attention to information, they say, came out of a Senate Republican conference on the subject of a premium rate increase for health insurance. They quote HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as saying, "Well, I think the rate increases are likely to continue to be somewhat substantial." They have called attention to what Sebelius said in a press conference statement last February in which she predicted that by just passing health reform bills premiums would go down between 14 and 20 percent.
It should be noted that recently Sebelius in a teleconference, reported by ModernHealthcare.com on September 21, said that the Medicare Advantage program was "stronger than ever before because of the Affordable Care Act." She predicted that average premiums in 2011 would be lower than 2010 by about 1%.
For new insureds the news regarding rate hikes appears to be rather gloomy in spite of any comments by the Obama administration to the contrary. Media, including The Wall Street Journal ("Health Insurers Plan Hikes," 9/8/10) are enumerating the number of insurance companies with rate hikes on their agendas, they say, because of the new health insurance requirements.
Roberts recently called for hearings on "Obamacare" following the multiple reports of rising health insurance premiums increasing the cost of health care for consumers. He joined Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), ranking member on the Senate Committee on Finance and other committee Republicans in sending a letter dated September 17, 2010, to Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee requesting hearings to examine "Obamacare."