Health Care Reform 2011: What does it mean to you?

I took some time today to browse President Barack Obama's website to learn more about the specific impacts of the health care reform bill passed last year. Most of the changes are set to occur in 2014 but there are still some basic points which may apply to you in 2011.

Here are some of the finer points for 2011:

1.  Small Business will receive tax cuts up to 35% of employee premiums. 60% of small businesses will qualiy for this.

2. Children below the age of 26 will be able to remain on their parents plan. This is an extension from the old requirement of Age 21.

3. Women have been given a "high-risk pool" which should provide affordable heath care coverage in the case that eligible women have a pre-existing condition.

4. Pre-existing condition exclusion has been banned on all Children starting in 2011. This will extend to everyone in 2014.

5. The Medicare Donut hole is now partially closed. This means that Seniors who fall in the prescription drug coverage gap will receive a $250.00 rebate. Previous to this rebate provision, Seniors were found to be 14% less likely to fill prescriptions at the gap level, presumably because of the uncovered cost.

6. Early retirees will now have access to a temporary re-insurance program to help them defray the cost of high premiums before Medicare eligibility.