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Your Health Depends On It

Shimmy Blum

Whether you like Obamacare or not, it is the law of the land and its key provisions are set to kick in beginning January 2014. This leaves Americans with just six months to prepare for the most comprehensive revamp of the nation’s medical system since Medicare was enacted in the 1960s. Here are the basics, so you can make sound decisions about your coverage options.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

health care smbol]Obamacare — or as it is formally known, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) — requires that all Americans have health insurance either through a private provider or through a state or federal assisted program. Regardless of what insurance plan you enroll in, or whether you or your employer will pay the premiums or receive government subsidies to help pay for them, all plans must provide coverage for a package of “essential health benefits,” including:

- ambulatory patient services

- emergency services

- hospitalization

- maternity and newborn care

- mental health and substance use disorder services (including behavioral health treatment)

- prescription drugs

- habilitative services, such as speech therapy and hearing aids,

as well as rehabilitative services, such as physical therapy after

an injury and devices

- laboratory services

- preventive and wellness services

- chronic disease management

- pediatric services (including oral and vision care)

Deductibles — an expenditure level the insured must pay before their coverage kicks in — will be capped at $2,000 per individual and $4,000 per family annually, but insurance companies will no longer be allowed to set a lifetime cap on the coverage it pays out. According to aUniversityofChicagostudy, fewer than half of the insurance plans currently on the market offer such comprehensive coverage, which means they will either have to upgrade to the new standards or close up shop.


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