The healthcare reform was signed into law March 2010 by President Barack Obama and will be enacted by each state by January 2014. Each state that does not have a health insurance exchange can participate in a multi-state insurance exchange. Individuals and small businesses (up to 100 employees) will be able to purchase affordable health insurance. By 2017, states may include small businesses with more than 100 employees. Financial assistance is available to sates beginning 2011 through 2014 to offset the costs of the imposed insurance exchange.
Individuals and small businesses may purchase health insurance from their residing state’s exchange, a multi-state exchange, a nonprofit organization (i.e., member-run Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans or CO-OPs), or a regional exchange (government run). The new legislation is named the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The healthcare reform act is important to individuals who cannot afford health insurance and small businesses that cannot afford to offer health insurance. Health insurance companies cannot drop an insured because of illness and limited lifetime benefits will be banned. Participants in the plans will have full disclosure of insurance information and make comparisons of insurance costs and benefits. Those who are unable to pay for health insurance can purchase a plan from a nonprofit organization or a regional exchange.
United States citizens and legalized immigrants (not imprisoned) are eligible for health insurance exchange coverage. The goal for senior citizen coverage is: shrink out-of-pocket costs, generic versions of cutting edge drugs, affordable preventative care, and funding for early retirees for employers.
A multi-state health insurance exchange must: have health plans in two or more states, have one plan that is nonprofit, and the plan must be licensed by the respective states.