Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA, was signed into law in 2010. PPACA, along with the Health Care Reform and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, was intended to reform the health insurance industry and expand insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans.
PPACA provides consumers with extensive rights and protections under the law. Many Americans will soon have access to free preventative and routine care, children with pre-existing conditions will not be denied equal access to benefits, and patients will be able to seek emergency care from any hospital, even those outside their network of approved providers. In some cases, insurance plans may be considered grandfathered, which means they were active before PPACA was enacted. These plans may be exempted from some of the rules that apply to other plans.
Many changes have already taken place since the act was signed, but many more are slated to continue to go into effect through 2015. In 2012, PPACA will seek to identify and reduce disparities in health coverage, create long-term care insurance options, reduce the amount of paperwork required in the health and insurance industry, and link patient outcomes to Medicare payments.
More nationwide changes to the insurance and health industry will come in 2013. These changes include improving access to preventative care, improving the payments systems, and increasing funding to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. The years 2014 and 2015 will establish insurance exchanges, require insurance for eligible individuals, provide tax credits for health coverage, and eliminate annual limits and certain types of discrimination, including those based on sex or pre-existing conditions.
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