After more than a year of negotiations and public debate, the US Congress passed and the president signed in March 2010 a health care reform law designed to provide near-universal health coverage at affordable prices. The changes will potentially affect all Americans both as patients seeking medical care and as consumers looking for the right plan. Regardless if you are young or old, or receive insurance through your employer or purchase coverage individually, you should be familiar with the far-reaching changes contained in the new law that have already been enacted or will soon be.
The biggest immediate changes affect those with families as well as individuals who lack coverage because they are sick. Beginning in September 2010, children can remain on their parents' insurance plan until the age of 26 and cannot be dropped due to pre-existing conditions. Nor can health insurers drop policies on those who have fallen ill. And lifetime caps on coverage are prohibited so that those with catastrophic illness are at less risk of bankruptcy due to unpaid medical bills. In addition, low income and many middle-class Americans will become eligible for subsidies to help them afford coverage that everyone will be required to purchase by 2014.This section helps you make smart decisions about health insurance to both safeguard your health and protect your finances.
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