What Healthcare Reform Means for You

President Obama recently signed historic legislation to make healthcare available and affordable to millions of Americans. Here�s how the new law could affect you.

Currently unemployed but continuing to work odd jobs when not in school, Alston pays as much as $3,600 a year in medical bills, doling out roughly $300 a month on doctor’s visits and another $150 on prescriptions when he can afford them. When he can’t pay for prescriptions, Alston borrows medicine from family members or friends who also have the disease. “This new bill will help me pay the bills,” he says. “I have to sometimes borrow money from family and friends or just go without the proper medication.” When clots form, he goes to the hospital and is billed for the visit.

Under the new healthcare reform, Alston and many others like him will be able to access affordable insurance. Says Alston: “Can you imagine how many neighborhoods, towns, and cities would be improved by just being able to properly control illness and disease? There’s no telling where this bill will take us in the long run, but I truly believe it will be to a better America.”

THE UNINSURED
Those with pre-existing conditions will be able to obtain health insurance. If you haven’t had insurance for six months and suffer from a pre-existing condition, you will be able to get health insurance starting this year. The program for these individuals, known as a high-risk pool, will provide coverage until 2014. In 2014, insurance companies will not be allowed to deny coverage to anyone based on their health status.

SENIORS
The Medicare Part D “doughnut hole” will close. This year, Medicare beneficiaries who fall within the Part D prescription drug plan coverage gap, or “doughnut hole,” will receive a rebate of $250. This repayment will help those who need to purchase drugs covered under the plan but who have exceeded the coverage limit.

YOUNG ADULTS
Adult children will receive extended coverage. Young adults will be able to receive coverage under their parents’ insurance plan until the age of 26. However, parents can elect whether or not they want their child to remain on their plan. If young people are not covered under their parents, they can obtain individual insurance or take part in their state’s health insurance plan.

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