Concord - New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley released the following statement on the six month anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's becoming law.
"Six months after its passage, the landmark health care reform passed by President Obama and Democrats in Congress continues to gain popularity and enact desperately needed reforms of the insurance industry.
"Beginning today, new provisions come into effect that will end some of the most abusive insurance company practices. Children born with a pre-existing condition or life threatening illness can no longer be denied coverage, insurance companies can no longer rescind health coverage to individuals when they become ill, and free preventative care will become standard on all new health plans.
"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was an enormous step forward. It is reducing the deficit, expanding insurance coverage, and keeping health care costs from continuing to spiral out of control. I applaud the strong leadership shown by Senator Shaheen, Congressman Hodes, and Congresswoman Shea-Porter in voting for this fantastic law."
The provisions of the Affordable Care Act going into effect today include:
· A provision prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to children on the basis of a pre-existing condition. As many as 72,000 uninsured children could gain coverage as a result of the change, and by 2014 insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage to anyone of any age on the basis of a pre-existing condition;
· A provision prohibiting insurance companies from rescinding individuals' health coverage when they need it most. The new provision will protect more than 10,000 people every year - the number of people who, in the past, annually lost access to health care as a result of rescission;
· A provision prohibiting insurance companies from imposing lifetime limits and restricting annual limits on health coverage - meaning that Americans need not worry so much that their insurance will run out in the middle of a hospital stay or illness. By 2014, annual limits will be banned completely;
· A requirement that all new health plans provide free preventive care. That means that more Americans will be able to access critical services like mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, and pre-natal care free of charge;
· A requirement that insurance companies allow college students and other young Americans to stay on their parents' insurance longer - until age 26 - while they finish school or look for a job, eliminating a costly gap in care. Up to 2.4 million young Americans could gain coverage through their parents as a result of this provision;
· A requirement that insurance companies allow individuals who purchase new health insurance or buy into a new plan to choose their own doctor within their network and visit the closest hospital in an emergency. In the past, insurance companies could assign individuals a particular doctor and charge more for out of network emergency room visits; and
· A provision guaranteeing Americans' ability to appeal their insurance companies' denial of coverage or treatment to an independent third party, giving individuals recourse to get the coverage or care they need.
For more information, visit www.Healthcare.gov.