Heath Care Reform

Under the health care law, children under the age of 26 can choose to stay under their parent’s health plan as long as they are not offered an employer-based health insurance. This provision enabled 2.5 million young adults to have insurance nationwide. In California, nearly 356,000 young adults have insurance coverage through this provision as of June 2011.

The new health care law allowed nearly 355,000 Medicare policyholders in California to receive a $250 rebate check to help with prescription drug costs when they fell into the Medicare gap in 2010. In 2011, more than 319,000 Medicare plan holders were given a 50% discount on brand-name prescription drugs covered by their plans when they hit the donut hole. An average of $538 per person or a total of $171,983,735 was saved in California.

Previously uninsured individuals without health coverage because of a pre-existing condition can now apply for a Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, which removes the burden of searching through California health insurance plans. This plan is available to U.S. citizens or legal residents with a pre-existing condition and have been uninsured for at least 6 months. In 2011, more than 5,500 individuals in California have benefited from this new law.

The new health care law requires all health insurers to allocate at least 80 percent of the premium payment on health care and related improvements. A rebate or premium discount shall be provided if the minimum is not met. All private policyholders in California will get greater value for their premium payments because of this 80/20 rule.

With the new law, insurance companies are now required to provide their subscribers with preventive care services like immunizations, colonoscopies, mammograms, or annual wellness doctor visits with no dedictible or co-pay. In 2011, more than 2.9 million Medicare subscribers and more than 6 million individuals with private policies received such services in California.

Under the new law, insurance companies are no longer allowed to impose an annual dollar limit-a cap on the yearly spending for your benefits, or a lifetime dollar limit-a lifetime cap for spending for your covered benefits. This law frees chronically ill individuals like cancer patients from worrying about getting further treatment because of such limitations. In 2011, more than 12 million California residents have benefited from this law.

If insurance companies want to raise their premium rates by ten percent or more, they are required by federal law to publicly announce and justify their actions. To guard against such unreasonable increases, the state of California received a total of $5.3 million.

All fifty states receive increases in funding for community health centers under the Affordable Care Act. This will help construct new health centers, provide medical services to more patients, improve preventive and primary health care services, and fund infrastructure projects. In California, 1,135 community health centers received a total of $248.1 million to fund these improvements.

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act created the Prevention and Public Health Fund. This new fund was created for wellness promotion, disease prevention, and protection against public health emergencies. California has already received a total of $90.6 million to support its policies, programs, and communities to help its residents lead healthier lives