On September 23, some provisions of the healthcare reform act became active.
The provisions include:
- Under the new law, insurance companies will be prohibited from imposing lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits, like hospital stays.
- Health plans must permit adult children to remain on their parents' plans until age 26
- Health plans can no longer refuse to cover a child, up to age 19, because of a pre-existing health condition.
- Plans can't impose annual coverage limits of less than $750,000 for "essential" health benefits.
- All new plans must cover certain preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without charging a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance.
- Plans must allow women to see an OB-GYN without a referral.
- Plans can no longer require higher co-payments for out-of-network emergency services.
- In the past, insurance companies could search for an error, or other technical mistake, on a customer’s application and use this error to deny payment for services when he or she got sick. The new law makes this illegal.
- Plans must provide consumers with a way to appeal coverage determinations or claims to their insurance company, and establishes an external review process.
(Sources: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/introduction/index.html, Accessed October 4, 2010; The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com, September 14, 2010)