CLEVELAND - A look back at the history of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare’).
Timeline for Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
February 2009: Newly elected President Barack Obama announces to a joint session of Congress his intentions of working with them to devise a health care reform plan.
March 21, 2010: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passes through Congress.
March 23, 2010: President Obama signs ACA into law setting in motion a series of health insurance reforms that will be implemented in steps over the next four years (and beyond).
Changes that came as a result of the health care law in 2010 include:
-Patient Bill of Rights-which includes coverage for children with pre-existing conditions, allows adults to stay on parent insurance plan until age 26, abolishes lifetime limits on coverage and allows consumers to appeal health plan decisions.
-Increase in funding for Community Health Centers
-Small business health care tax credit
January 1, 2011: Seniors are eligible to receive prescription drug discounts. (Seniors who reach the coverage gap commonly referred to as the ‘donut hole’ can receive a 50 percent discount on Medicare Part D covered brand name prescription drugs). Also, Medicare recipients can now receive free preventive care. Insurance companies are required to spend 80-85 percent of premiums on medical care (or be forced to offer rebates).
January 1, 2012: Most health plans are required to cover additional preventive health services for women, such as certain cancer screenings and gestational diabetes screenings for pregnant women.
March 21, 2012: A projection from the Congressional Budget Office indicates the cost to implement the health care reform law will be approximately $1.76 trillion over the next 10 years.
June 28, 2012: The U.S. Supreme Court declares the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act constitutional by ruling that the individual mandate to purchase insurance amounts to a permissible tax. The court also ruled that States could not be forced to participate in Medicaid expansion.
November 2012: Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor announces that Ohio will leave operation of Ohio’s health care exchange to the federal government. Ohio is one of 27 states that left the exchanges up to the federal government (16 states plus District of Columbia will run their own exchanges, while 7 will partner with the federal government).
July 2013: U.S. Treasury Department announces the employer mandate portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a provision that would require employers with at least 50 employees to provide health insurance coverage to their workers), which was supposed to have gone into effect in 2014, has been delayed to 2015.
October 1, 2013: Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace: Individuals and small businesses in all 50 states and the District of Columbia can shop for insurance on the newly created health insurance exchanges. The exchanges will match people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level with federal tax credits to help subsidize the cost of insurance beginning in 2014.
December 15, 2013: Deadline for health insurance exchange purchasers who wish to have coverage beginning on January 1, 2014.
January 1, 2014: Coverage available through the health exchanges takes effect.
Insurance plans can no longer refuse to cover individuals based on pre-existing conditions.
Most people will be required to have health insurance. Those without insurance will have to pay a penalty. In 2014, the penalty will be $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to $285 for a family, or one percent of family income (whichever is greater). People with very low incomes and others may be eligible for waivers from the penalty.
March 31, 2014 -- Open enrollment within the health exchanges ends, which means you can no longer enroll unless you qualify with a life event (birth, relocation, job loss, etc.)
January 1, 2015: The penalty for people who do not purchase health care insurance will rise to $325 per adult and $162.50 per child for the year 2015. People with very low incomes and others may be eligible for waivers from the penalty.
New provisions for physicians: Physicians will see their payments modified so that those who provide higher value care will receive higher payments than those who provide lower quality care.
Employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide health benefits to employees or face fines of $2,000 per employee.
Limits will be established on out-of-pocket costs (such as co-pays and deductibles). The limit for individuals will be $6,350 and $12,700 for a family.
January 1, 2016: The penalty for people who do not purchase health care insurance will rise to $695 per adult and $347.50 per child for the year 2016 and beyond. People with very low incomes and others may be eligible for waivers from the penalty.
For more information on health care reform, visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/ .