insurance

What health care reform delivers in 2010

7. Deductibles are eliminated for certain preventive care.

Covers: All insured individuals.
Starts: Sept. 23, 2010.
What it does: Insured consumers will no longer have to pay deductibles for some types of preventive care, including vaccines and some screenings considered key for their age and demographic. You can find out what services are free for you by going to the United States Preventive Services Task Force Web site and filling out a short form.

8. Small businesses get tax credits for offering health insurance.

Covers: Small-business owners and employees.
Starts: Retroactively applied to the tax year ending Dec. 31, 2010.
What it does: More small-business workers will likely be offered health insurance by their employers, greatly reducing their out-of-pocket costs. For their part, small-business owners can get substantial tax credits that cover up to 35 percent of their contributions to employee health care premiums in 2010 through 2013 and up to 50 percent in 2014 and beyond.

9. An appeals process will deal with denied claims.

Covers: All insured individuals.
Starts: Sept. 23, 2010.
What it does: The new law requires insurance plans to create a process for consumers to challenge denials of coverage and other decisions that adversely affect them. Plans will be required to inform customers about the process and how it works in clear, easy-to-understand terms.

10. Help for employers to cover retirees not yet on Medicare.

Covers: Early retirees over 55 but too young for Medicare.
Starts: June 21, 2010.
What it does: Health insurance reform establishes a re-insurance pool to help employers cover the cost of insuring retirees over age 55 but under the eligible age for Medicare. The fund will pay most of the cost for retiree claims until Jan. 1, 2014.

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