What’s Ahead for the Affordable Care Act in 2013?

By , WebMD Health News, April 3, 2013

Health Care Reform:

A Guide to Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

This month marks the third anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act becoming law.

Consumers have gained access to many new benefits under the law since it was passed in 2010. They include free preventive services, new rights to appeal insurers’ decisions, drug discounts for seniors on Medicare, and tax credits for small businesses.

Yet the biggest changes are set to take place less than a year from now. On Jan. 1, 2014, all Americans will be guaranteed access to health insurance coverage.

Here are some of the biggest developments to watch in 2013.

Health Insurance Marketplaces

One of the biggest changes will come in the form of new health insurance marketplaces, also called exchanges. Starting in October, individuals without access to health insurance through a job will shop for, compare, and enroll in health plans through these new online insurance super malls. Small businesses can use them, too. People will also find out if they qualify for tax breaks to help them pay for their insurance coverage.

While both federal and state governments are working furiously to get the markets up and running in time for October’s open enrollment, the public remains largely in the dark about what’s to come. According to a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 6 in 10 U.S. residents say they don’t have enough information to understand how they’ll be affected by the law.

That’s why starting in late summer and early fall, you can expect to be bombarded with messages about the health insurance marketplaces from a wide range of sources, including the media, federal and state governments, state departments of insurance, the state-based health insurance marketplaces, tax preparers, health care providers, private groups, and social service agencies.

There will be three primary messages you’re likely to hear, says Lynn Quincy, senior health policy analyst for Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports:

The marketplaces are opening their doors for open enrollment in October for insurance benefits that will take effect Jan. 1, 2014.
This is a different ball game. “The rules are changing. Now you cannot be turned down [by insurers],” Quincy says. Previously, insurance companies could deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
“There will be help to lower your insurance costs if you qualify for coverage,” Quincy says. Families of four making as much as $94,000 annually will receive tax credits from the federal government to help lower their insurance costs.
Employer Communication

If you’re one of the nearly 140 million Americans who gets your health benefits through your job, the law’s biggest changes won’t have much impact on you. Most employers who offered insurance before the law was passed will continue doing so. And keeping the insurance through your employer rather than buying it on your own is still likely to be your best option…..



CMJ Comment–

The complexity of the Affordable Care Act and its implementation have left many doctors and patients confused. The bottom line is that patients want free access to high quality affordable care on demand, and doctors want to control the method they use to practice on their own terms while receiving a fair reimbursement. As we move forward, what will those of us in the real world, looking for a solution now, have for options in healthcare?

Concierge Medicine offers a solution for those patients who are able to pay for the care that they want. The concierge doctor offers patients personalized care through limiting his practice size and only accepting direct payments. Concierge medicine is growing and it is becoming easier to find a concierge doctor online or in your local community. Explore the benefits of a concierge doctor and compare the services available within your budget and needs. Investing in you future health is not a mistake, depending on Congress to take care of it will be.


About Concierge Medicine Journal

Concierge Medicine Journal (CMJ) curates breaking concierge medicine news, and editorial opinion on a wide variety of topics relevant to the practice of Concierge Medicine.

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