Health Care Reform

AARP Answers Questions About Health Care Law Changes

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–September 23, 2010.  As several major health care changes roll out beginning today, AARP is working to answer questions from its members and all older Americans about how to make the best health care decisions for themselves and their families.

Many Americans who buy new insurance plans beginning today will have access to new benefits, such as preventive screenings, and improved protections, such as coverage that can’t be taken away if you get sick.  Parents of adult children will also have the option of insuring their children through their current coverage.  Americans who already have insurance will be eligible for some new benefits when their next plan year starts and should check with their insurer or employer for more information.

“Americans of all ages still have questions about the law and what it means for their families,” said AARP Senior Vice President Cheryl Matheis.  “As part of our ongoing effort to answer those questions, we want to give everyone access to clear, objective information about the new benefits and responsibilities these changes will bring.  Whether it’s helping a college-age child sign up for insurance or knowing what preventive services are available, Americans are looking for reliable information.”

Beginning today, several new benefits will become available to people purchasing a new health insurance plan:

* Health insurers must cover recommended preventive care—such as cancer screenings and flu shots—free of charge.  Check with your doctor to find out what care is right for you.

* Health insurers can no longer drop coverage (sometimes known as “rescission”) after a customer has gotten sick.  Many insurance plans have already voluntarily stopped this practice—now it will be illegal.

* Health insurers can no longer place lifetime limits on coverage that can cut off care for people with high costs.  Also beginning today, annual coverage limits can be no lower than $750,000.  This minimum will be raised annually, and eliminated entirely in 2014.

* Consumers now have an easier way to appeal an insurance company’s decision to deny coverage for needed care.  If an insurer still denies their claim, appeals can be made to an outside board.

* Family health insurance policies must cover adult children up to age 26 if they do not have access to job-based health insurance.  Some insurance plans and employers have already made this benefit available.  Check with your insurer or your company’s human resources department for more information.

* Health insurers must provide coverage to children under age 19, regardless of their health history or preexisting conditions.

AARP Bulletin has detailed information on the improvements to the insurance market taking effect today.  Visit to find out what—if anything—you need to do to take advantage of these important changes.