It’s important that all consumers know about the new protections afforded to them in their dealings with their insurance companies. The following insurance reforms are among those that take effect starting with health insurance plan years beginning on or after September 23rd (for many Americans, this will be January 1, 2011):
- Children under age 19 can no longer be denied insurance coverage because they have a preexisting medical condition;
- Health insurance plans can no longer cancel coverage when an individual becomes sick (except in rare cases of fraud);
- Young adults without their own employer-provided health insurance are able to stay on their parents’ policy until age 26;
- Lifetime caps on insurance coverage are prohibited;
- Annual dollar limits on coverage are being phased out, beginning this year. For plan years beginning after September 23rd, 2010, annual dollar limits lower than $750,000 will be prohibited;
- New private health plans and some existing health plans are required to cover evidence-based preventive screenings and services at no additional cost to the consumer;
- New private health plans and some existing plans are prohibited from requiring individuals to get prior approval before seeking emergency care at a hospital outside of their plan’s network and they can no longer charge higher co-pays or deductibles for emergency care received at an out-of-network hospital; and
- New Preexisting Condition Insurance Plans are available in every state to provide health insurance to individuals who have a preexisting medical condition and have been uninsured for at least six months.
The new videos launched by the American Heart Association provide more information about many of these new provisions of the law. In the videos, AHA CEO Nancy Brown, AHA President Dr. Ralph Sacco, AHA Past President Dr. Clyde Yancy, and AHA Chief Science Officer Dr. Rose Marie Robertson answer questions about these new protections. To watch the videos, visit http://www.heartsforhealthcare.org/.