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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

Benefits Still to Come

An end to denials and expensive premiums due to gender or pre-existing conditions

As of Jan. 1, 2014, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny adults health coverage because of pre-existing conditions, or charge higher premiums due to gender or gender-specific medical needs, such as childbearing.

The creation of health insurance exchanges

Also in 2014, most individuals and families will be required to carry a minimum level of health insurance. People without employer or other group coverage will be able to purchase insurance more affordably through state-based health insurance exchanges. Premium subsidies will be available for individuals and families with limited incomes. People who select not to have health insurance coverage could face a fine.

Expanded mental health and substance abuse services

While many group insurance plans today do include mental health and addiction services, by 2014 most individual and small group insurance plans will be required to do the same.

An end to annual insurance limits on health coverage

In 2013, insurers will be required to cover medical expenses of up to $2 million per year. In 2014, the coverage limit will be eliminated entirely.

Insurance coverage for more low-income people

In 2014, more people will be eligible to enroll in Medicaid, the federally run public health insurance program for low-income people.

End of the Medicare Part D Doughnut Hole

In 2020, the Medicare Part D coverage gap, or doughnut hole, will completely close

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