Certain Health Insurance Reforms Go Into Effect as of September 23

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On September 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, part of the recently enacted health care reform law, went into effect for insurance plans that begin on or after this date. Health care reforms beginning Sept. 23, 2010 include:

• No pre-existing condition exclusions for children under age 19: requires insurers to cover children of insured patients. “Grandfathered health plans” established before March 23, 2010, may continue their existing policy until 2014, at which time all health insurance discrimination based on pre-existing conditions are prohibited.

• No arbitrary rescissions of health insurance: insurers cannot rescind policies except in cases of patient fraud or intentional misrepresentation. All health insurers are subject to this new rule.

• No lifetime limits on health insurance coverage: The new provision prohibits lifetime limits on any plan issued or renewed after Sept. 23.

• No annual limits on coverage: Similarly, annual limits will be gradually phased out. Initially, health insurance plans will not be able to set annual limits lower than $750,000 per year. That minimum limit rises to $1,250,000 next year on Sept. 23, 2011, and $2,000,000 the following year. Beginning Jan 1, 2014, annual limits will be prohibited for most health plans.

• Protecting choice of health care provider: Patients will have the option to select and keep a primary care doctor from among the insurance company's participating provider network.

• Adult children covered to age 26. Children will have extended access to health insurance coverage under their parents' health insurance plan until

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