Healthcare Reform and How It Affects You

Sunday, 02 May 2010 10:03 Written by  Essence McDowell

Healthcare Reform has finally come to America. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed a landmark health care overhaul into law. The legislation expands coverage to over 30 million Americans, brings down health care costs for families and small businesses and ends the problematic practices of insurance companies. 

“We have now just enshrined the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care,” Obama said during his health care address to the nation in March.

The effect of the health care reform varies depending upon individual categories that include those who are uninsured, have insurance through work and personal insurance policies, are on Medicaid, and own businesses.

With many of the major changes still taking shape and set to be implemented in 2014, it is currently difficult to gauge the exact impact of the overhaul. However, there are multiple mandates effective starting this year. 

This Year
The reform will place sanctions on insurance companies so that Americans are getting fair and equal assistance effective six months after enactment. An exclusive ban is being put on insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. It will also prohibit health insurance companies from placing lifetime caps on coverage.

Tens of thousands of Americans with pre-existing conditions will be able to immediately benefit from the health care reform. Individuals who are uninsured for six months and have a pre-existing condition will gain access to health insurance though a new program known as a high-risk pool. This program will provide temporary protection for people with pre-existing conditions until 2014, when insurance companies can no longer deny you coverage based on your health.

All new insurance plans will be required to provide free preventive care and previously existing plans will be unable to charge co-payments for preventive care. Americans on Medicare will receive preventive care without co-payments and deductibles.

The Uninsured
For young adults, parents and students, one of the most anticipated parts of the new federal health care law is a provision allowing parents to keep adult children health insurance plans up to age 26. The law applies to adult children whose parents want to extend their own insurance coverage and can include children who are out of school and living on their own. The extension is intended to help young adults including those who are both unemployed and employed but are in jobs where health insurance isn't offered.
For the first time in history, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to simply say “no.” They will be required to offer coverage regardless of health or financial status.

According to the Department of Heath and Human Services, starting in 2104 there will be a new health insurance market that provides broader choices for Americans to gain health insurance at affordable rates. 

In 2014, all Americans will be required to have insurance. For the unemployed and those within low-income households, tax credits and hardship exemptions will be available to help pay for coverage.

The Insured
The independent and non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has said people who get coverage through their employer today will likely see lower premiums. Reform will lower premiums by reducing administrative costs, increasing competition between insurance companies and creating a larger pool of insured Americans.

The Business Owners
The health reform initiatives will be providing tens of billions of dollars in new tax-credits to small businesses to make it easier for them to provide coverage to their employees. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be available to firms that choose to offer coverage.  However, the changes do not require that small businesses provide coverage.

Another benefit of the reform lies in the increase of the number of primary care practitioners. The legislation provides new investments to increase the number of primary care practitioners, including doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Obama has provided multiple outlets for individuals who are in search of more information regarding the healthcare overhaul.

Websites Include: includes a serious of Q&A videos from the Department of Health and Human Services and breaks down Health Care Reform implementation based on location.
Visit to find out what information the White House is disseminating pertaining to the health care reform.

The Health Reform’s YouTube page

Social Media
Health Care Reform on Facebook
Healthcare reform on Twitter

Essence McDowell

Essence McDowell

Essence McDowell is a freelance writer for GlossMagazineOnline and recent graduate of the Masters in Journalism program at DePaul University.

She can be contacted at