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What Does the New Health Care Law Mean to Me?

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Sonia Dent RN, MSN, MBA

Certainly by today you have been have seen on the news, read something in print, or been involved in a conversation with someone discussing the controversial enacted health care law. And the constant question on everyone’s mind is, “How is this law going to affect me?” Whether you are a child, senior, business or healthcare provider, this law touches every American. Some changes take place immediately while others will be put into place over the next few years.

The law, known as the Affordable Care Act, today in its current form is over two thousand pages. In the ten sections of the bill, certainly the most media coverage has focused on Title I: Affordable Health Care for All Americans. This has been the single most radical change to health care since Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare bill in 1965.

For Americans this brings about many questions regarding how their health care will be managed. Whether you currently have insurance or are uninsured, the new law changes how we receive health care services. With a great deal of opposition to the bill, knowledge of these changes is crucial to every American.

Providing the law remains intact, most Americans can expect to see the following changes:

  • Every American must purchase some form of health insurance. Otherwise a fee will be assessed except those who are considered low income individuals.
  • Denying health insurance to a child (up to age 19) with a pre-existing condition or cancelling their health insurance due to illness or accident will be illegal. Children can also stay on their parent’s insurance until the age 26.
  • Those with pre-existing conditions or uninsured Americans may be eligible for insurance through a pre-existing insurance plan until 2014.
  • Most preventative services, such as immunizations, will be completely covered or offered at a lower price. This includes prenatal and newborn care as well as vision and dental services.
  • Those with Medicare Part D will see the “donut hole” (out of pocket expense) narrowed. Additionally name-brand medications can be obtained at a fifty-percent discount.

Other provisions eliminate the lifetime limit on the amount insurers will pay and enforce justification if steep increases in premiums are put in to place. Small businesses will see tax credits of up to thirty-five percent. Grants will also be available for eligible businesses for wellness programs and cafeteria plans. The law also gives small businesses the purchase power of larger businesses to get the best possible price for health insurance through insurance “exchanges.” Large businesses will be required to provide adequate health insurance or pay a fine if employees are mandated to purchase their own health insurance and receive premium tax credits.

With the upcoming election of the next president of the United States, the destiny of the new bill remains unclear. While some changes affect people in key areas of their life, some will notice minimal changes. Regardless, every American should be knowledgeable of these changes to ensure that they receive the best possible health care.



Sonia Dent is President/Owner of Healthcare Guidance Services located at 1701 Central Avenue, Suite 334 in Ashland, Kentucky.