The healthcare and health insurance industries have experienced many changes since the passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, with more changes to come. The Act will implement more changes to healthcare over a predetermined timeline, and insurance companies and citizens alike will be able to follow this timeline to anticipate changes and react accordingly.
You should keep up-to-date with the process in order to be aware of what health insurance providers are now required to provide and what health services will look like in the future. Read on to learn more about the changes yet to come in 2013 to the healthcare industry.
Preventative Health Coverage
In order to expand the coverage of preventative care and services, the Affordable Care Act gives state-funded Medicaid programs new funding, offering many preventative services at no additional charge, or at a very low cost to patients. Preventative care is important in early detection of diseases or serious conditions, often reducing the chance of a patient having to undergo costly or extensive procedures or treatments.
In an effort to provide better patient care, hospitals, doctors' offices, and providers are encouraged to bundle all payments together instead of billing patients separately. Patients will receive one bill instead of multiple, making the whole process more efficient while reducing paperwork for citizens.
Increased Medicaid Payments
Since Medicaid is expanding in 2014 with the coverage of more patients, the Affordable Care Act requires states to start paying primary care doctors no less than 100 percent of Medicare payment rates in 2013 and 2014 for primary care services. This increase will be fully funded by the federal government.
Health Insurance Marketplace
The biggest change in healthcare in 2013 is perhaps the initiation of the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace is an online resource opening in October 2013 that will offer health insurance from private companies. Prices will be regulated and subsidized, so many who were not able to afford insurance previously will be able to find a plan that suits their needs as well as their budget.
The Marketplace is offering much more than just affordable insurance, however.
- Transparency. In the past, the language and jargon used by insurance companies to describe their plans has confused many people. The Marketplace aims to simplify language used to talk about insurance in order for everyone to understand the details of any given plan. This protects people from purchasing insurance with hidden fees and restrictions.
- Affordability. As mentioned, one goal of the Marketplace is to offer affordable health insurance to those who are currently uninsured. This will be accomplished through lower rates, an expansion in the Medicaid program, and tax credits.
- Compare Plans. One main feature of the Marketplace is the ability to compare various insurance plans. Comparing plans side-by-side will allow Marketplace users to find a plan with the exact amount of coverage they need at a price that fits in their budget. After filling out only one application, the Marketplace will provide users with a list of plans available for them to choose.
- Enroll Online. Even though the insurance plans on the Marketplace are offered by private insurers, you will be able to enroll in one easy step online through the Marketplace.
Know The Dates
The Marketplace opens to the public in October 2013, but any plan purchased will not take effect until January 2014. You must pay your first premium by December 15, 2013 in order to have your insurance take effect on January 1, 2014.
These changes are taking place in 2013, but be aware that many changes are coming in 2014 and 2015. Some of these include changes to the interaction between health insurers and customers, as well as several changes to patient care and the way doctors interact with patients.