Kathleen Sebelius Highlights Progress, Future of Affordable Care Act Benefits

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius provided an update on progress made in implementing the Affordable Care Act, nine months since it was signed into law, according to a Lake County News report.

Ms. Sebelius outlined the following benefits that went into effect in the first nine months:

1. Patient's bill of rights. On Sept. 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act's Patient's Bill of Rights took effect to stop insurance companies from denying coverage to children based on a pre-existing condition, dropping coverage when you get sick because you made a mistake on your application or putting lifetime caps on the dollar amount they will spend on benefits.

2. Coverage for young adults. Young adults can now remain on their parents' health plan until they turn 26, if the plan covers dependent children and coverage isn't offered through their job.

3. Small business tax credits. Starting on Jan. 1, 2010, up to 4 million small businesses became eligible for tax credits to help them give workers' insurance benefits.

Ms. Sebelius also discussed the launch of www.HealthCare.gov, a website designed to help consumers make informed decisions about healthcare coverage, and other benefits.

In 2011, Ms. Sebelius said the Affordable Care Act will introduce more benefits. Health insurers that spend less than 80 percent of premium dollars on healthcare and quality improvements will have to provide a rebate to enrollees. Starting Jan. 1, 2011, Medicare-covered patients can get an annual physical examination at no cost to them.

Read the Lake County News report on the Affordable Care Act.

Read more on the Affordable Care Act:

-Senate Rejects Repeal of Reform's 1099 Tax Reporting Mandate

-CMS Reminds Hospitals It Won't Pay for Services Filed More Than One Year After Service Date

-The Case for Shifting More Services to Midlevel Providers

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