FEDERAL HEALTHCARE TIMELINE
IMPROVING QUALITY AND LOWERING COSTS
- Offering Prescription Drug Discounts. Seniors who reach the coverage gap will receive a 50% discount when buying Medicare Part D covered brand-name prescription drugs. Over the next ten years, seniors will receive additional savings on brand-name and generic drugs until the coverage gap is closed in 2020. Effective January 1, 2011. Download a brochure to learn more (PDF – 1 MB)
- Providing Free Preventive Care for Seniors. The law provides certain free preventive services, such as annual wellness visits and personalized prevention plans for seniors on Medicare. Effective January 1, 2011. Learn more about preventive services under Medicare.
- Improving Health Care Quality and Efficiency. The law establishes a new Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation that will begin testing new ways of delivering care to patients. These methods are expected to improve the quality of care, and reduce the rate of growth in health care costs for Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Additionally, by January 1, 2011, HHS will submit a national strategy for quality improvement in health care, including by these programs. Effective no later than January 1, 2011. Learn more about the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation.
- Improving Care for Seniors After They Leave the Hospital. The Community Care Transitions Program will help high risk Medicare beneficiaries who are hospitalized avoid unnecessary readmissions by coordinating care and connecting patients to services in their communities. Effective January 1, 2011.
- Introducing New Innovations to Bring Down Costs. The Independent Payment Advisory Board will begin operations to develop and submit proposals to Congress and the President aimed at extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. The Board is expected to focus on ways to target waste in the system, and recommend ways to reduce costs, improve health outcomes for patients, and expand access to high-quality care. Administrative funding becomes available October 1, 2011. Learn more about strengthening Medicare.
INCREASING ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE CARE
- Increasing Access to Services at Home and in the Community. The Community First Choice Option allows states to offer home and community based services to disabled individuals through Medicaid rather than institutional care in nursing homes. Effective beginning October 1, 2011.
HOLDING INSURANCE COMPANIES ACCOUNTABLE
- Bringing Down Health Care Premiums. To ensure premium dollars are spent primarily on health care, the law generally requires that at least 85% of all premium dollars collected by insurance companies for large employer plans are spent on health care services and health care quality improvement. For plans sold to individuals and small employers, at least 80% of the premium must be spent on benefits and quality improvement. If insurance companies do not meet these goals, because their administrative costs or profits are too high, they must provide rebates to consumers. Effective January 1, 2011. Fact Sheet: Getting Your Money’s Worth on Health Insurance.
- Addressing Overpayments to Big Insurance Companies and Strengthening Medicare Advantage. Today, Medicare pays Medicare Advantage insurance companies over $1,000 more per person on average than is spent per person in Traditional Medicare. This results in increased premiums for all Medicare beneficiaries, including the 77% of beneficiaries who are not currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. The law levels the playing field by gradually eliminating this discrepancy. People enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan will still receive all guaranteed Medicare benefits, and the law provides bonus payments to Medicare Advantage plans that provide high quality care. Effective January 1, 2011. Learn more about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.
CALIFORNIA HEALTH CARE TIMELINE
New state health laws in effect – California Health Benefit Exchange established
- Insurers that sell individual market policies in California are prohibited from refusing to sell or renew coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions.
- All proposed health insurance premium increases must be reviewed and certified by an independent actuary and must be posted on the web making costs more transparent.
Initial federal Medicare changes take effect
Prescription drug discounts
Free preventive care for seniors
Medical loss ratio rules in effect