Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Secrets of the health care reform act

Of course there are secrets hidden in the health care act. There are 2700 pages of government 'gobble-de-gook' that I haven't had the pleasure of deciphering - because, frankly, I am lazy and that would mean I would have to work. However here are some of the secrets, courtesy of CNN (where would I be without CNN to quote?):

  1. As of 12/2014 drug, device and medical supply companies would need to annually report payments and items of value they give to doctors and teaching hospitals. This means your doctors would actually be giving you the right drug, not the one they are paid to give you. How's that for smart thinking?
  2. As of March 2010, working mothers got a more appropriate location for expressing breast milk - employers must give them a  place to do this and allow breaks to do this as well.What are they supposed to do - stand in the ladies room or hide under their desk?
  3. Every chain restaurant with more than 20 locations would need to provide calorie counts for all items - but no date is set for this. In some ways I hate this because it takes all the fun out of eating a cookie to find out it contains 300 calories. But on the other hand, it keeps me from cheating on my diet.
  4. Abstinence only sex education would receive matching federal funds. Too much teen pregnancy going on so I think this is good.
  5. Flexible spending account requirements get tighter. As of 2013, there will be an annual limit and they can no longer be used to buy OTC medications and vitamins. Of course, not everything is good.
  6. The tanning tax. If you must 'fake bake' your skin, you get taxed on it. 10% is the amount. This went into effect in 2010.
  7. Work wellness programs can be funded through grants for small businesses and companies are incentivized to have them. Hmmm.... Does this mean if you run on the company treadmill for 10 minutes you can get a candy bar from the vending machine?
  8. Free preventive care as of 2010. Well free to the patient but insurance companies must fully cover mammograms, physical exams, colonscopies, vaccinations, and more including genetic counseling for women with the BRCA gene. The idea is to find problems early before they get expensive. While it sounds like insurance companies are taking the hit here, they really aren't. It costs much less to remove a precancerous polyp than it does to treat stage IV cancer.
  9. Home visits for expectant parents. The idea is to reduce child abuse and neglect and promote the health of mothers and their children. This began in 2010. Taking care of moms and new babies can prevent millions of dollars in care down the road.
  10. This one is my favorite - health insurance policies which do not require a secret decoder ring to decipher. As of September 30, 2012 the plans must be concise and understandable and make it easier to compare plans.
So its not just about insurance for pre-existing conditions, life time caps, young adults on their parents insurance until 26, and requiring everyone to have insurance, it does include other little but important changes. I have to say I am sick of news on health care reform and can't wait for the Supreme Court ruling so everyone will just shut up about it. And I really hate the fact that the media things the average American can't handle news that isn't broken down in to top ten lists. But I found these interesting and can't wait to receive my first legible health insurance policy.

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