Access to health coverage
What health care reform means for you and your family
The health insurance reforms and newly covered benefits that are included in health reform will be rolled out gradually over the next four years. First out of the gate in six months are two changes that directly affect children and one that will help everyone:
Children with pre-existing medical conditions can no longer be denied health insurance coverage.
This means that sometime this fall, a March of Dimes volunteer whose baby was born prematurely and diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension who has been unable to find an individual policy because of the baby's pre-existing condition will now be able to get her daughter covered. Or another volunteer who adopted two girls and has been unable to get a health insurance policy for the youngest child because she is showing the lasting effects of her birth mother having abused drugs during pregnancy. This "pre-existing condition" has meant the family has had to pay out of pocket anytime this nine-year-old needed to go to the doctor. Before the year is out, both of these families will be able to get private insurance coverage and never again be turned away from a clinic because they lack health insurance.
Children will be able to stay on their families' policies until they reach age 26.
While some policies do allow coverage of full-time students, now sons and daughters can be covered even if they are not students.
Annual and lifetime limits on health insurance coverage will no longer be allowed.
Before their daughter was born, a family was sold an insurance policy with an $11,000 lifetime maximum for newborns. When the baby was unexpectedly born prematurely, they exceeded the baby's coverage limit in less than 24 hours. While they had to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket because their baby required a lengthy stay in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU), no other family should face such drastic consequences after this ruling goes into effect
There will be much more ahead, including guaranteed maternity coverage for all pregnant women whether they have private or public health insurance, and expanded access to coverage for the nearly 9 million children and more than 12 million women of childbearing age who are currently uninsured.
March 24, 2010