Tuesday, December 28, 2010

DBJ... New health reform changes for Jan. 1

From Dayton Business Journal…
New health reform changes go into effect Jan. 1
Monday, December 27, 2010

Beginning Jan. 1, several new health care reform changes will go into effect.
“These benefits are important new building blocks of the new health law that will ultimately help ensure that more Americans have greater access to affordable, high-quality care,” said DeAnn Friedholm, director of Consumers Union’s health reform campaign in a news release
“Starting in 2011, more insurance premium dollars will go towards medical care instead of profits, seniors will have better access to preventive care, and all hospitals will begin to disclose their infection rates to the public.”
The changes, passed under the Affordable Care Act by Congress earlier this year amid a storm of criticism from some and applause by others, will be:
• More premium dollars going to medical care: For those covered by an individual or small group policy, insurers must spend 80 percent of the premiums it collects on medical care or activities that improve the quality of care, and for those covered by large group policies, insurers must spend 85 percent;
• New Medicare preventive health benefits: Medicare beneficiaries will receive free annual wellness visits and a personalized prevention plan, and co-pays will be eliminated from immunizations and screenings for cancer and diabetes;
• Drug discounts for Medicare recipients: Medicare beneficiaries with Part D prescription drug coverage will be eligible for a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs and a 7 percent discount on generic drugs for those with a coverage gap;
• Increased funding for community health centers: More federal funding will be allocated to community health centers, which provide free or low cost care; and
• Hospitals must report certain patient infections: Hospitals will now have to track and report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network when patients get central line associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units.

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