For those interested in understanding health care reform (in particular, the Affordable Health Care Act), government website Healthcare.gov provides a timeline that is user-friendly and informative. Below, I will highlight some of the more interesting goals and aspirations of the Act.
Discounts and Services Starting January 1, 2011:
50% discounts available for seniors who reach the coverage gap. Savings will be available for those purchasing Medicare Part D brand-name drugs. The gap is expected to close by 2020, and during the interim, seniors will be given additional savings.
Preventative services will be provided to Medicare recipients for free. For instance, annual wellness visits.
Administrative Funding to Become Available October, 2011:
The Medicare Trust Fund will be assessed by The Independent Payment Advisory Board with an aim to extend its life. Plans are expected to be submitted to Congress and the Executive Office.
New “Community First Choice Option” will allow States to provide home and community services through Medicaid (as opposed to traditional nursing home care).
Doctors to Help Each Other to Exchange Information; January, 2012
New laws provide incentives for physicians to assimilate and form “Accountable Care Organizations.” Doctors would be able to exchange information more easily, and costs would be cut by eliminating unnecessary tests.
Going Green and Online: October, 2012
Changes are expected to reduce paper records. By standardizing billing and using electronic storage systems, not only will care be more efficient but also less costly.
Increased Medicaid Payments for Primary Care Doctors: January, 2013
The Act will require states to pay primary care physicians 100% of Medicare payment rates in 2013 and 2014 for primary care services.