Health Care Reform was federal legislation known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which is designed to improve the quality of patient care, improve people's health and reduce the cost of health care.
The ACA increases the availability of affordable insurance, reduces barriers to accessing care and gives all insured people a guarantee of basic essential care elements regardless of their insurance plan.
People who are citizens or legal immigrants must have insurance by March 31, 2014 or may be levied a penalty. People with incomes up to 138% of Federal Poverty Levels will be eligible for expanded Medi-Cal coverage without co-pays, premiums or shared costs. People with incomes of 139% - 400% of Federal Poverty Levels will be eligible for premium subsidies.
The new Health Benefit Exchange, Covered California, is the organization that is responsible for assisting people in accessing the new insurance coverage. Mendocino Coast Clinics has trained staff to both educate and enroll people in Covered California
There are benefits that have already accrued as a result of the ACA since 2010:
· 19-26 year olds have insurance through their parents.
· Health plans cannot drop members due to illness.
· Children with chronic conditions cannot be denied coverage.
· The Medicare donut hole, where prescriptions are not covered, is shrinking now & will be gone in 2020.
· 'Preventive care' out of pocket costs were eliminated for Medicare & Medicaid recipients.
· Lifetime limits on health coverage are gone.
· Small business tax credits exist.