Affordable Care Act Benefits that Began in 2012

Supreme CourtWithout a doubt, the most talked about, most controversial, biggest health insurance law is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It is often referred to as the Affordable Care Act. Some people call it Obamacare. 2012 was a big year for the ACA. Here’s a quick review of some of the highlights.

On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court revealed its decision about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Justices decided 5 to 4 that the Affordable Care Act would stand and would continue. In other words, it was declared to be constitutional.

It was what some call a landmark decision. The ruling meant that the benefits of the Affordable Care Act that had already gone into affect would continue. It also meant that upcoming benefits of the health reform law would be enacted.

On August 1, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services added additional guidelines for women’s preventative care to the previous list of preventative care. This includes well-woman visits, contraception and contraceptive counseling, screening for STDs, breastfeeding support, and domestic violence screening and counseling.

All health plans were required to offer all forms of women’s preventative care to consumers without cost sharing. This rule took affect on August 1, 2012. Churches, and other houses of worship were exempt. Religious businesses were given an extended deadline, January 1, 2013, to comply with their rule.

In the Summer of 2012, consumers in several states received rebates from their health insurance companies. This was thanks to a portion of the ACA called the medical loss ratio. It requires health insurers to spend at least 80% of the money they get from premiums on actual health care. Those that fail to do so have to give their customers a rebate for the amount that the insurer spent on non-health related things.

Health insurers were prohibited from placing an annual dollar limit lower than $1.25 million dollars on plans that were purchased after September 23, 2010, but before September 23, 2012. Health insurers were prohibited from placing an annual dollar limit lower than $2 million on plans or policy years that start on or after September 23, 2012.

This year, 2012, was the year that states made an official decision about what type of health insurance exchange they would like to create. Work has begun that will result in helping Americans find affordable health insurance in 2013 and 2014.

Image by dbking on Flickr

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