The health care law enacted in 2010 brings a number of benefits to all Americans, including people over age 50. Some of these benefits are available now. Others phase in over the next few years.
The health care law:
- makes it easier for you to get and keep your health insurance
- makes discriminatory insurance practices a thing of the past
- makes health insurance easier to get and more affordable
- strengthens Medicare
- helps with long-term care services
If you buy health insurance on your own, have insurance through your employer, can't get or afford insurance, or have Medicare, the health care law may affect you. By understanding what's in the law, you can make better health care choices for you and your family.
For all Americans
- The health care law ends unfair insurance practices: Health insurance companies can no longer drop your health coverage if you become sick. (Your health insurance is guaranteed so long as you pay your premiums.) Children under age 19 can't be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. In 2014, adults also can't be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
- The health care law ends lifetime and annual limits on coverage: By prohibiting insurance companies from setting dollar limits on the amount of medical care it will cover, your benefits won't run out when you need them the most. The protection against lifetime limits began in 2010 and the ban on annual limits will take effect in 2014.
- The health care law requires coverage for preventive care: Most health insurance plans, including Medicare, must now cover — without cost to the patient —proven preventive care services such as immunizations and screenings for diabetes and certain cancers. (For instance, mammograms and colonoscopies are covered.)
- The health care law helps contain premium costs: Insurance companies must now justify any rate increase of 10 percent or more.