The health-reform law is changing the health-insurance marketplace in big ways. The first changes—those that happen right away—take effect Sept. 23, 2010, six months after the health-reform bill was signed.,, Consumer Reports offers a free health-insurance guide [.pdf] to how the new law affects you.
Preserves job-based coverage
If you get health insurance through work, your coverage will likely remain pretty much the same, but with some new consumer protections. Lifetime caps on coverage are banned, for example, and insurers will have to adopt new procedures allowing workers to appeal coverage denials.
Offers new protections for consumers
According to the new Patient’s Bill of Rights insurers can no longer do the following: Cancel your coverage if you get sick; set lifetime limits on coverage; put annual dollar limits on coverage (this is phased in over three years); deny coverage to children under age 19 who have pre-existing conditions; and impose barriers to or refuse to pay for emergency care even if it’s at a hospital outside the insurer’s network.