Affordable Care Act: Patient Protection beyond Health Insurance Marketplace

Affordable Care Act: Patient Protection beyond Health Insurance Marketplace

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, M.A., M.S.

Posted October 13, 2014

 

Update on Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace

October 2014 is the first anniversary of enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace, a new way to help uninsured persons to choose and to buy health insurance. The Health Insurance Marketplace is a major initiative in a set of health insurance reforms known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed by  the President in 2010.

The ACA requires that nearly everyone in the U.S. has health insurance with essential benefits by 2014, or pay a penalty fee at tax time for the 2014 year. More than seven million persons have purchased health insurance with the help of the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace.

The official website for the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace is HealthCare.gov.

If you have questions about enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may call the Federal Consumer Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325). The Call Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Assistance is available in 150 languages. You can talk free of charge with a real person.

ACA Patient Protection beyond Health Insurance Marketplace

The Health Insurance Marketplace is just one of many health law reforms provided by the ACA. Whether you need health coverage or have it already, the ACA offers new rights and protections that make coverage fairer and easier to understand.

Some ACA rights and protections apply to plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace or other individual insurance, some apply to job-based plans, and some apply to all health coverage. See the guide, entitled, “How the Health Care Law Protects You.”

One example of ACA consumer protections relates to Rate Review, discussed in the news release, entitled, “Health Care Law Saves Consumers Money, Provides More Resources to States ,” issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on September 19, 2014.

Before the ACA, insurance premium rate increases were often in the double digits, according to the HHS news release. Insurance companies were able to raise premiums without explaining their actions to regulators or to the public, or without justifying their reasons for their high rates to consumers.

Now, under the ACA Rate Review provisions, the health law requires insurance companies in every state to publicly justify any rate increase of 10 percent or more. See the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publication, “Rate Review Annual Report September 2014.”

For summaries of many other ACA patient protections, accessible under the headings, Coverage, Costs, and Care, see the HHS resource, entitled, “About the Law.”  For example, ACA ends arbitrary withdrawals of insurance coverage, ends lifetime limits on coverage, and protects your choice of doctors.

Another HHS resource, entitled, “Read the Law,” allows you to read the entire Affordable Care Act in plain language. Click on each Title, to see a brief outline. Then, you may read the health law, section by section.

A disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

 References

 Healthcare.gov. Health Coverage Rights and Protections.
(Accessed 09 October 2014)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS.gov. About the Law.
(Accessed 07 October 2014)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS.gov/HealthCare. Read the Law. The Affordable Care Act, Section by Section.
(Accessed 07 October 2014)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS.gov. News. “Health Care Law Saves Consumers Money, Provides More Resources to States.” News Release. September 19, 2014.
(Accessed 07 October 2014)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Rate Review Annual Report. September 2014.”
(Accessed 07 October 2014)

 

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