On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, putting in place comprehensive reforms that improve access to affordable health coverage for everyone and protect consumers from abusive insurance company practices. The law allows all Americans to make health insurance choices that work for them while guaranteeing access to care for our most vulnerable, and provides new ways to bring down costs and improve quality of care.
In the past, insurance companies could take advantage of you. They could deny coverage to children who had asthma or were born with a heart defect, put a lifetime cap on the amount of care they would pay for, or cancel your coverage when you got sick just by finding an accidental mistake in your paperwork. The Affordable Care Act creates a new Patient's Bill of Rights that protects you from these and other abusive practices.
End to Pre-Existing Condition Discrimination: Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition like asthma and diabetes, providing peace of mind for parents of the more than 17.6 million children with pre-existing conditions. Starting back in 2014, no American can be discriminated against due to a pre-existing condition.
In the past, some people with cancer or other chronic illnesses ran out of insurance coverage because their health care expenses reached a dollar limit imposed by their insurance company. Under the health care law, insurers can no longer impose lifetime dollar limits on essential health benefits and annual limits are being phased out by 2014. More than 105 million Americans no longer have lifetime limits thanks to the new law.
Insurance companies can no longer drop your coverage when you get sick due to a mistake you made on your application.
Implementation of Affordable Care Act Provisions to Improve Nursing Home Transparency, Care Quality, and Abuse Prevention
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the first comprehensive legislation since the Nursing Home Reform Act, part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA ’87), to expand quality of care-related requirements for nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid and improve federal and state oversight and enforcement. Despite the 1987 reforms, beginning in 1997, the Government Accountability Office issued more than 20 reports documenting serious quality of care problems in nursing homes and inadequate enforcement of federal regulations to protect residents’ health, safety, and welfare. To help address these quality problems, the ACA incorporates the Nursing Home Transparency and Improvement Act of 2009, introduced because complex ownership, management, and financing structures were inhibiting regulators’ ability to hold providers accountable for compliance with federal requirements. The ACA also incorporates the Elder Justice Act and the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act, which include provisions to protect long-term care recipients from abuse and other crimes.
This issue paper describes the new ACA requirements, explains the background for their inclusion in the law, and outlines the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS’s) progress in implementing them to date.
January, 2013 - Kaiser Family Foundation www.kff.org
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