Early Benefits of Health Care Reform Providing Coverage To One Million Uninsured

Most of the benefits of health care reform don’t kick in until 2014 but some of the benefits are gradually beginning to be seen. These early benefits are expected to provide health care coverage to one million people next year who are currently uninsured. Over one hundred million others will see improvements in their coverage. AP reports:

The major early coverage benefits include:

• Allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ coverage until they turn 26. In 2011, an estimated 650,000 young people who would otherwise have been uninsured will gain coverage. Another 600,000 will benefit by switching from individually purchased policies to less costly, more comprehensive employer plans. The number with coverage will grow in 2012 and 2013.

• A health plan for uninsured people with pre-existing health conditions. From 200,000 to 400,000 could benefit in 2011, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The government may limit enrollment if $5 billion allocated through 2013 starts to run out, as projected. Beginning in 2014, insurers will be required to accept all applicants, regardless of medical history.

• Ending lifetime limits on coverage, and restricting annual limits. As many as 20,400 people a year hit lifetime limits, as did Mira Raether. Many more — an estimated 102 million — are in plans that impose such limits and will no longer be able to do so.

• Requiring insurers to cover children with medical problems. An estimated 51,000 uninsured children are expected to gain coverage. Another 90,000 children who have been excluded for coverage for a particular condition — asthma, for example — will also benefit.