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What to expect from health reform’s 6 month anniversary

September 21, 2010

Advocates are celebrating health reform’s 6 month anniversary on Thursday, and although it seems like they’re jumping the gun a bit (don’t we usually celebrate YEAR anniversaries?) there’s actually some logic to all of the hoopla. Many of health reform’s first regulations go into effect on the 6 month mark.

So, what can you expect?

Some measures, like  not denying children insurance if they have a pre-existing condition were already illegal in Rhode Island.

But there are a few noticeable changes-

-Insurers will offer preventive services (like physicals and flu shots) for free

-Children can stay on their parent’s health insurance plans until they’re 26

-Plans will no longer be able to enforce lifetime caps on how much they’ll pay for health care costs (according to RI’s health insurance commissioner, Rhode Islanders rarely reach this cap.)

Although all of this *technically* begins on Thursday, when the changes affect you depend on when you renew your plan.  If you renew your plan or buy a new one on Thursday, it’s immediate.  If your plan renews in January, that’s when you’ll see the benefits.

For more details on what health reform means for you, check out Kaiser Family Health Foundation’s new site devoted entirely to making all of this reform stuff make sense.  There’s even a video narrated by Cokie Roberts!

Kaiser is a solid no partisan resource on health information and isn’t affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

The Commonwealth Fund also has a nice time-line on health reform implementation.

Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts has been meeting with more than 100 health care leaders in the state to discuss how Rhode Island should implement state level health reform changes.  She’ll be releasing her game plan on Thursday.  I’ll post that as soon as the embargo is lifted and do a bit of reporting on it too.

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