Earlier this week, several organizations came together in Austin, Texas including The City of Austin Small Business Development Program, Children’s Defense Fund, and Small Business Majority to host a forum on new health care reform legislation.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is also sometimes referred to as ACA, PPACA, Health Reform, or “Obamacare” impacts health care for residents of Austin. As an Austin dental practice and a health care provider, Thompson Dentistry is interested in better understanding these impacts.
With ambiguity present in both health and dental insurance as changes are made in legislation, it’s important to have a baseline of understanding or summary of health care reform so as to better understand health care reform law. Here are some key pieces of information regarding ACA provided during the forum.
- Children cannot be denied coverage because they have a preexisting condition such as asthma or diabetes, and also are able to receive both immunizations and screenings at no charge.
- Young people can stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
- Health insurance companies have to spend 80% of premiums received on health care (while 20% can be allocated to administration, and business profit).
- Small businesses are not required to provide health insurance, but if they do, there may be business tax credits available.
- Seniors on Medicare can get free preventive care and the prescription drug “doughnut hole” is closing.
By the year 2014, you can expect:
- All Americans can get preventive care and screenings for free. This includes immunizations, birth control, mammograms, colonoscopies and annual exams.
- No one can be denied, dropped or priced out of health insurance because of a preexisting condition – like diabetes, asthma, or cancer.
- A woman won’t be charged more than a man for the same health coverage.
- Health insurance companies will be limited on how much they can raise the cost of health insurance.
Source: What Texans Need to Know about Health Reform (PDF) provided by Texas Well and Healthy.
Texas Health Insurance Exchange
It is planned that in late 2013, Texas small businesses will be able to begin comparing employee health insurance plans through a new market called the Small Business Health Options Program (or SHOP Exchange).
Insurance plans on the exchange will be labeled as bronze, silver, gold, and platinum “tiers”, which represent the actuarial value of the plan – essentially the percentage of health care costs covered by each plan.
The SHOP Exchange is slated to be available for testing in October 2013 and businesses will be able to purchase plans off of the Exchange beginning in January 2014.