After decades of fighting to improve our health care system, many working people are uncertain about what the new law will actually mean for their families.
Below is a list of highlights from the new health care laws. For a more detailed schedule of when these changes will take effect, click here to visit our website.
Insurance Company AccountabilityReform limits wasteful spending on executive salaries, eliminates annual and lifetime limits on benefits and ends denials for preexisting conditions and discriminatory premiums for women.
It also requires government review of excessive rate increases.Lower CostsThe new law reduces union plan costs with reimbursements for early retirees.
New health insurance exchanges—where members of Congress must get their health coverage— will lower costs by increasing competition.
The exchanges and new tax credits and cost sharing assistance to low- and middle-income Americans—the largest tax cut for health care in history—will make insurance affordable for people who don’t get health care through their employers.
The bill also gives seniors additional help paying for prescription drugs, closes the Medicare “donut hole” and requires free preventive care through Medicare.More Children Will Have InsuranceStarting this year, children can’t be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions and they can stay on their parent’s policy until they are 26 years old.Employer AccountabilityThe new law requires large employers to pay a penalty for workers who need subsidies in the exchanges to buy their own insurance.Deficit ReductionThe independent Congressional Budget Office estimates that health care reform will reduce the budget deficit by $138 million over 10 years and another $1.2 trillion over the next decade.
Union members will continue to have the employer sponsored health coverage they have won at the bargaining table.
It is also worth noting that eighty-five percent of the proposed excise tax on benefits is gone, thanks to the work of activists in the labor movement.
For more information, visit www.aflcio.org/healthcare.