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The Health Care Law: What's in Effect Now, What's Still to Come

Benefits are in place, with more coming through 2014

Insurance supports for early retirees

If you have retiree health coverage through your work and are between 55 and 64, funding from the new Early Retirees Reinsurance Program can help your former employer maintain your health benefit until you reach Medicare age. 

Greater protections for children with pre-existing conditions

Under most individual and group insurance plans, children up to age 19 with prior or current health problems can no longer be denied coverage.

Free wellness care for babies and children

Children are eligible for free annual wellness exams and immunizations from birth to age 21.

Easy-to-use resources for finding affordable insurance

Consumers seeking to research private and public health insurance plans, obtain rate information, and better understand their insurance options can now visit a one-stop shopping website established by the federal government. 

Easier access to specialty care

Among the "patient bill of rights" provisions in effect now are rules that prevent insurance companies from requiring primary-care physician referrals for ob/gyn visits or out-of-network emergency care. 

Expanded rights of appeal

If an insurer rejects a claim or cancels coverage, customers of most plans now have the right to appeal the decision to an outside review panel. Unlike in the past, insurers will have to abide by that group's findings.

Greater protections for nursing home residents

The new health care law provides expanded resources, such as access to quality ratings and complaint reports, for families seeking nursing home care and greater protections for nursing home residents.

Insurance supports for small-business employers

Business tax credits have been established for small business owners who want to provide health insurance to their workers. 

Next page: Additional benefits still to come. »

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