FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   Contact: Leigh Fifelski
Thursday, September 23, 2010                                                                        (517) 999.3646  
As Six Provisions Are Implemented, Businesses and Healthcare Advocates Cheer for Change

Jackson – Business owners, health care advocates and health care professionals gathered to celebrate Thursday as six major provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act went into effect.

“Business owners want to do the right thing, but with rising costs and a bad economy, paying for health care was almost impossible,” said Guerin Wilkenson, owner of GreenStreet Tree Service. “With tax credits to offset some of the costs of premiums, more employees will get the quality, affordable care they deserve.”

For decades, consumers and businesses shared the burden of the broken health care system, shouldering ever-increasing costs while receiving fewer benefits and being subjected to unsavory policies such as being denied coverage due to “pre-existing conditions.”  Today marked the end of the hardship and the beginning of an age in American history when health care costs will no longer force families and businesses into financial ruin.
 “With 50.7 million uninsured Americans the high cost of “not” providing healthcare coverage for all is an expenditure we can no longer afford,” said Molly Kaser, executive director of the Center for Family Health.  “Since 1991, the Center for Family Health has provided the best in medical care for thousands of patients. Now we take the next step to ensure that future generations of children and adults will have even greater access to our care.”

Thursday marked the beginning phases of health care reform implementation. Policies taking effect today are:

  • Extending Dependant Coverage: Insurers and employers providing dependent coverage to children are required make that coverage available to adult children up to age 26. The extension applies to both married and unmarried children.
  • Banning Children Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions: Insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage for children under the age of 19. Insurance companies will also be prohibited from excluding coverage for the pre-existing conditions of children.
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  • Providing No-Cost Preventive Care: New plans must, upon renewal, eliminate any cost-sharing for preventive services covered under the contract. Insurance companies cannot charge you a deductible, co-pay, or coinsurance for preventive care measures such as immunizations.
  • Banning Policy Rescissions: Insurers will be prohibited from rescinding or retroactively canceling your health insurance coverage unless you committed fraud or made an intentional misrepresentation of an important fact on your application.
  • Eliminating Lifetime Limits: For new plans, insurers will be prohibited from setting lifetime limits on significant benefits, such as hospitalization and emergency services.

“Today is a victory for every Michigander who lost their coverage when they got sick,” said Erin Knott of Michigan Citizen Action. “It’s a victory for small businesses that won’t have to choose between benefits for their employees and staying open, and for clinics that won’t be overwhelmed with people seeking care. Today, all of Michigan wins.”


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