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New Patient’s Bill of Rights takes effect

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No matter where you stand on the issue of health care reform, the Patient's Bill of Rights offers important consumer protections. Some call the Affordable Care Act the start of "socialized medicine" and accept without blinking that for-profit administration, marketing and denial of health care come between patients and their doctors every day. Gatekeepers to health care enjoy substantial profits on the backs of people with illness. Under new rules, these gatekeepers will gain access to millions of new customers who are required to enroll in a health insurance program. The movement to eliminate, reduce, or offer an alternative to for-profit health care remains as committed as ever.

Many new patient protections that affect Americans' access to health care go into effect Sept. 23, 2010, six months after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Some of the provisions are being introduced later, with full implementation by 2014.

Patient’s Bill of Rights

Ban on Discriminating Against Kids with Pre-Existing Conditions

Before reform, tens of the thousands of families have been denied insurance each year for their children because of an illness or condition. With the Patient’s Bill of Rights, plans cannot discriminate against kids with pre-existing conditions. In 2014, no one seeking coverage can be discriminated against because of a preexisting condition.

Ban on Insurance Companies Dropping Coverage

Before reform, insurance companies could cancel your coverage when you were sick and needed it most because of a simple mistake on your application. With the Patient’s Bill of Rights, insurance companies are banned from cutting off your coverage due to an unintentional mistake on your application.

Ban on Insurance Companies Limiting Coverage

Before reform, cancer patients and individuals suffering from other serious and chronic diseases were often forced to limit or go without treatment because of an insurer’s lifetime limit on their coverage. With the Patient’s Bill of Rights, insurance companies can no longer put a lifetime limit on the amount of coverage, so families can live with the security of knowing that their coverage will be there when they need it most. The use of annual limits will be restricted and will be banned completely in 2014.

Ban on Insurance Companies Limiting Choice of Doctors

Before reform, insurance companies could decide which doctor you could go to. With the Patient’s Bill of Rights, if you purchase or join a new plan you have the right to choose your own doctor in your insurer network.

Ban on Insurance Companies Restricting Emergency Room Care

Before reform, insurance companies could limit which emergency room you could go to or charge you more if you went out of network. With the Patient’s Bill of Rights, if you purchase or join a new plan, those plans are banned from charging more for emergency services obtained out of network.

Guarantee You a Right to Appeal

Before reform, when insurers denied you coverage or restricted your treatment, you were left with few options to repeal. With the Patient’s Bill of Rights, if you purchase or join a new policy, you will be guaranteed the right to appeal insurance company decisions to an independent third party.

Covering Young Adults on Parent’s Plan

With the Patient’s Bill of Rights, young adults will be allowed to remain on their parent’s plan until their 26th birthday, unless they are offered coverage at work. Up to 2.4 million young adults could gain affordable coverage through this provision of the new law.

Covering Preventive Care With No Cost

With the Patient’s Bill of Rights, if you join or purchase a new plan, you will receive recommended preventive care with no out-of-pocket cost. Services like mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, pre-natal and new baby care will be covered and insurance companies will be prohibited from charging deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance.

Source: The White House: Health Reform in Action

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