Healthcare Reform Simplified

Stethoscope on flag and medical code sheet

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 will have a large impact on healthcare for everyone. We've provided a summary of what's changed and what to expect in the coming years. You can use our tools and calculators to learn more.

Healthcare reform timeline

President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010. This Act will have a large impact on healthcare for consumers, employers, brokers, and insurers.

A Quick Summary

Healthcare Reform How It Affects You When It Takes Effect
Elimination of lifetime and annual limits Health plans can no longer impose lifetime or (with some exceptions) annual dollar limits on the amount paid for "essential health benefits," like emergency services and prescription drugs. Upon plan renewal.
Dependent coverage to age 26 Parents with children under age 26 can add them to their employer-based family health plan and/or dental dependent coverage plan, even if their children are married,do not live with their parents, and are not financially dependent on them. Upon plan renewal.
Preventive care coverage Preventive services, like annual exams, mammogram preventive care screenings, and immunizations, must be fully covered benefits without cost-sharing. Upon plan renewal.
W-2 Informational Reporting The law requires that employers report the cost of coverage for each employee enrolled in the employer's health plan. For details, click on the Healthcare Reform Interactive Timeline and scroll to the 2012 January section. Required for all employers in 2012.
Early retiree reinsurance program (ERRP) Employers who provide health insurance to early retirees between the ages of 55 and 64 may be eligible for a federal reimbursement based on claims should the employer qualify for this program. Learn more. Program is in effect for claims incurred through December 31, 2011.
Grandfathering Self-funded health plans may choose to "grandfather," which exempts them from some requirements of the law. Groups must communicate this decision to Blue Cross in writing. Applies to plans that were in effect March 23, 2010.
Small business tax credit Small businesses that have 25 or fewer full-time-tax equivalent employees with an average annual wage of less than $50,000 may qualify for a tax credit. Tax credit is in effect now.

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