Health Insurance and Healthcare Reform

Hello, this is a new blog that will bring you information on health insurance and related topics in a way that regular people can understand. Sometimes it seems like you need to be an expert in health care or insurance to understand these often complex and confusing topics, but I am here to try to explain and clarify things for you. Feel free to respond in the comments section below if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for future blog topics!

Today I want to introduce you to the website www.healthcare.gov, the federal government’s main website on health care reform. It was developed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services after the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (sometimes called the ACA or Obamacare) was passed, and its purpose is to inform consumers like you of the different aspects of the health care reform law and how they will affect you. The website has several sections including health insurance basics and links to different parts of the health reform law and what they mean.

The Health Care Law & You page of this website has four useful links on it that you can look around on to get an idea of what is in the law:

1. Read the Full Law—A link to each section and to the full text of the law (just in case you need a little light bedtime reading!)

2. Key Features of the Law—Goes to a page with five main headings and links under each to explanations of related topics.

3. Information for You—Has links to information organized by types of consumers such as families with children, small businesses, seniors, and young adults, and also an interactive map where you can click on your state to see what is happening there, including some state-specific data such as the amounts of federal grants your state has received.

4. Timeline: What’s Changing and When—Includes a timeline you can click on from 2010 to 2015 to see when different changes take effect, and a link near the top to show all the information on one page by year if you would rather see it that way instead of clicking through the timeline.

When people find out I work in the health policy field they sometimes ask me what exactly is health care reform, what is changing and what will stay the same, and what it will mean for them. This website is a good place to go with your questions and to get a basic idea of what is happening and will happen. As you can see, the ACA is not just one law or change, it is really a collection of many laws that add and change various things in our current health care system in order to try to tweak it to make it more efficient and effective, and to reach more people while improving quality and controlling costs. Also, not everyone is aware of this but this law, just like most others, is general in most parts and depends on different responsible departments of the federal government (such as the Department of Health & Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service) to release regulations with the details of how it should be implemented. Not all of the regulations are out yet regarding the ACA, so it is not all “set in stone” yet and many implementation details are still being worked out within the overall framework of the ACA—draft regulations are released for public comment and are then modified and finalized.

No matter what your political leanings are, it is important for everyone to learn the basics of what is in the ACA and the regulations that are coming out and how they will be affected, since many provisions are already implemented and many others go into effect in 2014. It is also good to know what is not in the ACA, since there is misinformation floating around regarding what is in the act, so this website can help clarify so you can become more informed. Health insurance issues affect everyone since sooner or later everyone needs medical care, and you might find some features in the law that will help you.

If you become more educated on the health care reform law, maybe your friends and family will soon be asking you what it is about and for your advice on what kind of health insurance to get. If you agree with the law and its intent, you can tell them what the benefits are, and if you don’t agree with the law, you will at least have the correct information to inform your viewpoints, so there is no reason not to become a more informed citizen! I will discuss some of the changes in the law and how they will affect your health insurance, as well as other health insurance topics, in future blog posts so as I said please let me know what you think and what you have questions on, and keep checking this page for updates.



Your Comments

Gary

May 1, 2013 at 2:24 - Reply

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