There is still hard work ahead as consumers, medical providers, health plans and elected officials must come together to find ways to bend the cost curve.
The law allows most young adults to remain on their parents' health plan until the age of 26. In the past, dependent coverage might have depended on the child's student or marital status. That is no longer the case.
The law provides financial relief for employers so retirees who are 55 or older, but who are not yet eligible for Medicare, can get quality, affordable insurance.
The law requires that all benefit plans offered through the marketplace, or exchange, to individuals and small groups must include the same minimum set of benefits, making it easier for consumers to comparison shop while assuring that the coverage they purchase is comprehensive.
The law includes a “grandfathering” provision that generally allows individuals and employers to maintain their existing health insurance coverage so long as they were enrolled at the date of the law's enactment on March 23, 2010.
Medical Loss Ratio (MLR)
Known as medical loss ratio (MLR), health plans are required to report in each state where it operates: total premiums earned; total reimbursement for clinical services (claims paid); total spending on quality improvement activities; and total spending on all other non-claims costs excluding federal and state taxes and fees.
The law creates a series of patient protections designed to assure you can purchase health insurance even if you have a pre-existing condition; that you will not lose your coverage if you become sick; that you can choose the doctors you want from a provider network; and that you can easily access emergency care when you are away from home.
One goal of the law is to encourage more Americans to seek those preventive services which can lead to early detection and treatment of a variety of chronic diseases and other costly medical conditions.
Many small businesses and not-for-profit organizations providing health insurance to their employees will qualify for a special tax credit of up to 35% (25% for tax-exempt organizations).