The major parts of the new health care reform law won’t go into effect until 2014 or later, with some kicking in during 2012. But some measures go into effect either now or in a few months:
Indoor tanning salons will charge customers a 10 percent tax beginning today in just one of the changes Americans will see as a result of the U.S. health-care overhaul signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Insurers will be required by September to begin providing health coverage to kids with pre-existing illnesses and allow parents to keep children younger than 26 on their plans as the clock has begun ticking on many of the law’s provisions. Medicare recipients will receive a $250 rebate for prescription drugs when they reach a coverage gap called the donut hole if the Senate passes and the president signs companion legislation approved March 21 by the U.S. House.
Within 90 days, the law will provide immediate access to high-risk insurance plans for people who can’t get insurance because of a pre-existing medical problem, Harris said. These high-risk pools will be funded by $5 billion in federal grants.
Companies led by Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Inc., the largest health insurer, will be banned within six months from dropping a person’s coverage because of severe illness and from limiting lifetime or annual benefits.
Participants in Medicare, the U.S. government’s health coverage for those 65 and older, are expected get a $250 rebate toward prescription drugs once their benefits run out — a coverage gap know as the “doughnut hole.” The benefit is part of the package of amendments to the legislation now pending in the Senate. Drugmakers led by New York-based Pfizer Inc. will have to offer discounted drugs to Medicare recipients next year, according to an analysis of the legislation by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Menlo Park, California. . . .
Insurers also will have to reveal how much of members’ premiums they spend on medical care, as opposed to executive salaries or other administrative costs. Next year, they’ll owe a rebate to customers if the insurers spend less than 80 percent on benefits for people in individual or small-group plans. . . .
The legislation also creates an Independent Payment Advisory Board to suggest cuts in spending by Medicare, the government health program for the elderly and disabled, that could threaten payments for drug and device-makers.