Health Care Reform: Patient’s Bill of Rights

Jul 8th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare

President Obama announced this week a new Patient’s Bill of Rights as a result of the Affordable Care Act (health care reform).  This is “…a basic set of consumer protections that end some of the health insurance companies worst abuses,” said the President this week.  In addition to preserving Medicare for senior citizens, the Patient’s Bill of Rights

  • Prevents insurance companies from canceling your policy if you get sick.  Now, insurance companies can retroactively cancel your policy when you get sick if you or your employer make an unintentional mistake on your application.
  • Stops insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions.  Beginning in September, discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions will be banned, and the protection will be extended to all Americans in 2014.
  • Prohibits setting lifetime limits on insurance policies issued or renewed after September 23, 2010.  No longer will insurance companies be able to take away coverage at the time when patients need it most.  More than 100 million Americans have health coverage that imposes lifetime limits.
  • Phases out annual dollar limits on coverage over the next three years.  Even more aggressive than lifetime limits are annual dollar limits on what an insurance company will pay for your health care.  For the people with medical costs that hit these limits, the consequences can be devastating.   
  • Allows you to designate any available participating primary care doctor as your provider.  You will be able to keep the primary care doctor or pediatrician you choose and see an OB-GYN without referral.  
  • Removes insurance company barriers to receiving emergency care and prevents them from charging you more because you are out of network.   You will be able to get emergency care at a hospital outside your plan’s network without facing higher co-pays or deductibles or having to fight to get approval first. 

The Patient’s Bill of Rights starts to take effect this fall (September), but the benefits for individuals and families under health care reform don’t stop there.  Over the course of the next several years, the historic health reform law will make care more affordable, hold insurers accountable, and finally give all Americans the coverage they deserve.  

Click here to download your copy of the Patient’s Bill of Rights.



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