Many people have questions about the new health care law and how it will affect their lives. What many people don’t know is that the Affordable Care Act doesn’t take effect all at once. It’s an 11-year plan that has different elements that activate each year to give businesses and individuals time to adjust to all the new provisions.

So which aspects of the new healthcare law have already gone into effect? Starting in 2010, adults up to age 26 were allowed to stay on their parent’s health plans, tanning services got taxed at 10 percent, the Medicare Part D donut-hole gap on prescription coverage was closed, and plan sponsors began being reimbursed for claims from pre-Medicare retirees.

In 2011, an annual fee for pharmaceutical companies, a tax credit for businesses with fewer than 25 employees, and the long-term insurance program began. Then in 2012, the exchanges were set up, Medicare began an experiment in cost cutting, and Medicare began reducing reimbursement to hospitals with too many preventable re-admissions.

This year, the Affordable Healthcare Act brought standardized insurance forms, new limits on flexible spending accounts, a new 3.8 percent tax on investments to help bring money in to fund the program.

Next year more changes are set to take effect, including:

  • Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage based on claims for medical conditions
  • Insurance premiums can only vary by age, tobacco use, home, and family size
  • Tax credits for insurance bought on the exchanges go into effect
  • Employer-sponsored plans have to meet the same criteria as the “qualified health plans” on the exchange
  • Medicaid expanded to cover 133 percent of poverty
  • Childless adults can qualify for Medicaid
  • Fine for not having health insurance goes into effect, starting at $95 per person
  • Employers with more than 50 employees penalized if workers buy through the exchange.

If you questions about personal injury claims or insurance coverage,  contact Portland personal injury attorney Richard Rizk by emailing rich@rizklaw.com, calling (503) 245-5677, or visiting www.rizklaw.com.