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Key Health Care Provisions Take Effect This Month

Beginning this week, Connecticut residents will start to see some big changes for the better as several key provisions of the new national health care law go into effect. One of the most significant changes: Insurance companies will no longer be able to drop someone’s health coverage because he or she becomes sick or requires medical care.

The new health care law includes important consumer protections and puts an end to a number of unfair insurance company practices,” said Brenda Kelley, state director of AARP Connecticut, which represents nearly 600,000 members age 50 and older in the state. “Many of these new protections will take effect this month, such as prohibiting insurance companies from limiting lifetime medical benefits, while still others will be phased in over the next several years.”

Effective Sept. 23, the new law:

  • Stops Insurance companies from dropping coverage: Prohibits health insurance companies from dropping your health coverage if you become sick.
  • Bans lifetime limits on benefits: Prohibits health plans from placing limits on the amount of medical benefits you can receive over your lifetime. They are also restricted from placing arbitrary annual limits on your health coverage beginning in 2014.
  • Adds free preventive care under new private health insurance plans: Requires new private health insurance plans to cover more preventive services free of charge.
  • Extends coverage for young adults: Allows parents to keep their young adult children covered under their health insurance until they reach age 26. The good news: many insurance companies began making this change earlier this year in June.
  • Ends denial of coverage for children based on pre-existing conditions: Stops health plans from refusing to sell insurance to children with pre-existing conditions. In 2014, this important protection will be extended to everyone.


In addition, Medicare recipients who fall into the doughnut hole in 2010 have begun receiving a one-time, $250 rebate check to help cover their out-of-pocket prescription drug costs. Checks started arriving in recipients mailboxes in June.

More good news for Connecticut residents – the state began accepting applications for a new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan on August 30. The Plan is available to people who have been denied health insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition and who have been uninsured for at least 6 months. This plan is in addition to the existing Connecticut High-Risk Pool. The state also offers the Charter Oak Health Plan, which can provide basic coverage if you are uninsured. Find out more about these and other health care options at www.infoline.org/healthcare.

“There is a lot packed into the new health care law,” Kelley added. “By knowing what’s in the law and when the various provisions go into effect, you can take advantage of these changes and make the best decisions for you and your family.”

To learn more, visit AARP’s web page devoted exclusively to providing information about the new health care law, www.aarp.org/getthefacts.

HealthCare.gov

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