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President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius at a 2009 meeting with health care stakeholders. It got better.
The bulk of the most popular stuff of the Affordable Care act hasn't gone into effect yet, but the regulations for it have been finalized, so insurance companies will have plenty of time to get used to the fact that there are going to be real limits on how much they can screw you starting next year.
Those new regulations hit the five key consumer protections:
Nearly all health insurance companies offering coverage to individuals and employers will be required to sell health insurance policies to all consumers. No one can be denied health insurance because they have or had an illness.
Fair Health Insurance Premiums
Health insurance companies offering coverage to individuals and small employers will only be allowed to vary premiums based on age, tobacco use, family size, and geography. Basing premiums on other factors will be illegal. The factors that are no longer permitted in 2014 include health status, past insurance claims, gender, occupation, how long an individual has held a policy, or size of the small employer.
Health insurance companies will no longer refuse to renew coverage because an individual or an employee has become sick. You may renew your coverage at your option.
Single Risk Pool
Health insurance companies will no longer be able to charge higher premiums to higher cost enrollees by moving them into separate risk pools. Insurers are required to maintain a single state-wide risk pool for the individual market and single state-wide risk pool for the small group market.
Young adults and people for whom coverage would otherwise be unaffordable will have access to a catastrophic plan in the individual market. Catastrophic plans generally will have lower premiums, protect against high out-of-pocket costs, and cover recommended preventive services without cost sharing.
This is the stuff that's going to make Obamacare no longer a dirty word. It's also the stuff that's going to lessen opposition to a larger federal government role in all of our health care, a good starting point to the much larger, systemic reforms that are still going to have to happen to fix health care in America.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 01:13 PM PST.