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How the New Health Law May Affect You in the New Year
Despite opposition, a number of health care reforms are being enacted in 2011. Mostly notably affected are seniors, who will get big discounts on prescription drugs and free preventive care, although some in Medicare Advantage plans may lose coveted extra benefits such as vision and dental coverage. In addition, new rules for chain restaurants and vending machines will require easy access to calorie and nutritional content. Here are nine ways the new health law may affect you:
- You may be getting an insurance rebate in 2012, as health insurers must spend at least 80 percent of their premiums on medical care, or face the possibility of giving rebates to consumers.
- If you are a senior on Medicare, your prescription costs could be cut by $700. Drug companies will now be offering 50% off brand drugs to those “in the gap” who are not already receiving subsidiaries.
- Chain restaurants with 20 or more locations will now have to display calorie information on menus, menu boards, and drive-thru signs, which will help to put “eating into context.”
- In 2011, more Medicare premiums will come from wealthier beneficiaries. Beneficiaries paying higher premiums will rise from 2.4 million in 2011 to 7.8 million in 2019.
- New restrictions on medical savings accounts will make consumers with flexible-spending accounts (FSAs) unable to spend pre-tax money on many over-the-counter drugs without a doctor’s prescription.
- Medicare will also now increase payments in primary care for seniors by 10% as an incentive to doctors and other primary healthcare specialists to increase their services and treatment of seniors and disabled persons. This will give these targeted groups greater access to primary care.
- Medicare enrollees will be able to get many preventive health services – such as vaccinations and cancer screenings – for free. The law also eliminates any cost-sharing such as copayments or deductibles for Medicare-covered preventive services that are recommended.
- Payment for many private Medicare health plans is being restructured; rates this year will be frozen at 2010 levels and lower rates will be phased in beginning in 2012.
- Finally, the federal government will no longer pay for some infections picked-up through hospital care.
KHN Staff. Nine Ways The New Health Law May Affect You in 2011. Kaiser Health News. 2011 January 3.