Although there are several aspects of the recently passed Health Insurance Reform Act that I do not like, the following reforms to our health insurance system take effect over the first year:
- Health insurance providers cannot deny any child coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
- Insurance companies can no longer drop someone when he or she becomes ill.
- Young adults can stay on their parents' health insurance plan up to their 27th birthday.
- Health insurers must now reveal how much money is spent on overhead.
- New health insurance plans must cover checkups and other preventative care without co-pays.
- New measures will be implemented to help eliminate health insurance waste, fraud and abuse.
- Small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) will get tax credits covering up to 50 percent of premiums.
- Seniors on Medicare will get a rebate to fill the "donut hole" in their drug coverage.
- Insurers will be required to put more premiums dollars toward actual health care services, not administration, advertising or profits.
- Insurance premium increases will have to be reviewed and justified.
- Lifetime caps on the amount of insurance a person can have will be banned.
- A temporary high-risk pool will be set up to cover adults with pre-existing conditions.
These benefits to all the American people — Republicans and Democrats alike — were accomplished with not one Republican vote.