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Your Rights

Posted Mar 22nd, 2012 by Patient Assistance Team
One of the reasons why the Affordable Care Act is such a groundbreaking piece of legislation for the healthcare industry is because it puts the individual, not the insurer, in control of his or her own health. While this is welcomed news to millions of Americans who have been unable to afford health insurance because of the fees or who have battled the insurance companies in coverage challenges, knowing what the Affordable Care Act means to you, the consumer, is absolutely necessary.

There are a few key rights that you have under this bill. Below is a list of some of these highlights and what they mean to you.

Free Preventive Care:

Under the Affordable Care Act, certain preventive screenings and tests are free. Depending upon your age, you have may have access to the following preventive services at no cost to you. Such as blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol tests, many cancer screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies, counseling on such topics as quitting smoking, losing weight, eating healthfully, treating depression, and reducing alcohol use, routine vaccinations against diseases such as measles, polio, or meningitis, flu and pneumonia shots, counseling, screening, and vaccines to ensure healthy pregnancies, and regular well-baby and well-child visits, from birth to age 21.
It is important to know that these preventive services are free to you if you are enrolled in a job-related health plan or individual health insurance policy created after March 23, 2010. If you are in such a health plan, this provision will affect you as soon as your plan begins its first new plan year or after September 23, 2010.

Consumer Assistance Programs

To assist the millions of Americans who have coverage problems or issues, the state-run Consumer Assistance Program can help you file complaints and appeals, enroll in health coverage, and learn about your rights and responsibilities as a health care consumer. If you are state does not have such a program, under the Affordable Care Act, some state and federal offices may still be able to assist you in the resolution of your problem.

And your insurance company can no longer drop your coverage because of an illness you have an illness and made a mistake documenting it on your application. 

Your own Patient Bill of Rights

The “Patient’s Bill of Rights” outlines consumer protections and gives you the knowledge you need to make informed choices about your health. This Bill of Rights protects you as you choose a doctor, gives you the right to have coverage for pre-existing conditions, protects you in helping you get the most for your premium dollar so that you are not paying for administrative costs as well and much more. 

End to Care Limits

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, some individuals with chronic illnesses, like diabetes or even cancer could run out of insurance coverage money when their medical expenses reached a certain dollar limit set by their insurance company. But fortunately following the bill, this is no longer legal. By 2014, all imposed lifetime dollar limits and annual limits on essential health benefits will be phased out. 

Children's Pre-Existing Conditions

Under the Affordable Care Act, a child younger than 29 years of age cannot received limited coverage or be denied benefits because the child has a pre-existing condition prior to joining the plan. There are some considerations to be aware of with this rule, so it is important to speak with your medical provider about how this pertains to you or your child. 

Starting in 2014, no one, including both children and adults, can be denied coverage because of an pre-existing condition. Learning about your rights under the Affordable Care Act puts you in control of your health and your family’s health.