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Affordable Care Act Brings New Benefits

In New Hampshire, the nearly 315,000 residents between the ages of 50 to 64 stand to benefit from provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

Benefits include expanding access to affordable health insurance, assuring that all health insurance provides a standard comprehensive benefit, preventing insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, and eliminating lifetime and annual limits in health insurance policies.

The following Affordable Care Act benefits for 50- to 64-year-olds have already gone into effect:

Health insurance is easier to obtain. Coverage is available to those who have been uninsured for at least six months and have a pre-existing condition. To find out more about this coverage, including eligibility requirements, visit the New Hampshire Health Plan. This high-risk health coverage will continue until the exchanges start in 2014.

Coverage is more affordable. People with new insurance plans will get access to free preventive care, including mammograms, immunizations and screenings for cancer and diabetes. And small businesses with fewer than 25 employees, with an average wage below $50,000, can get tax credits to help buy health insurance.

Children and young adults receive expanded coverage. If your plan covers dependents and your adult children do not have employer-sponsored insurance, you can now cover them on your policy until they turn 26. And children under the age of 19 who have pre-existing conditions must be covered by insurance.

Early retiree protections. New protections have been added for those between 55 and 64 who have retiree health coverage through their work. New federal funds encourage employers to continue offering health benefits until Medicare kicks in at age 65.

Insurance practice improvements for all. Insurance companies can’t drop health coverage for those that become sick and health insurance is guaranteed, as long as premiums are paid. And now that insurance companies can no longer place limits on health coverage, benefits can’t run out when people need them the most.

“Keeping young adults on a parents’ health insurance plan until the age of 26 is very popular, especially in today’s economically challenging environment,” said AARP New Hampshire State Director Kelly Clark. “Many of our members tell us their children – even those right out of college – have been unable to find jobs that offer health benefits. This provision in the Affordable Care Act offers peace of mind for parents and their families.”

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