March 24, 2010

Answering NM Voices for Health Reform

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

Yesterday, President Obama signed historic health reform legislation into law. As I wrote Monday, provisions in this reform package will start to help New Mexicans right away.

Throughout this debate on health care reform, I heard from folks across New Mexico about the problems they face under the status quo. I even featured videos of some of the most common kinds of stories on my web site.

Now that health reform is on the books, I'm happy to report back to these New Mexico voices for health reform that there are changes that will help this year. Here are these stories once more and the changes that we will see right away:

Arvind Struggles to Afford Health Care for his Small Business

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Arvind, here's how health reform will help small businesses this year:

  • Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be immediately available to help make employee coverage more affordable. When Exchanges are eventually operational, tax credits will be up to 50 percent of premiums.

Katheryn Faces Skyrocketing Premiums and Treatment Costs

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Katheryn, here's how health reform will help Americans approaching Medicare age this year:

  • Assistance to employers providing health insurance coverage to early retirees to help reduce premiums. 
  • All new health plans will implement an effective process for appeals of coverage determinations and claims. 
  • A $250 rebate for seniors who hit the Medicare prescription drug "doughnut hole".

Dr. Berlin Sees New Mexicans Missing Preventive Care

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Dr. Berlin, here's how health reform will improve preventive care this year:

  • Insurers will be required to cover prevention and wellness benefits and exempt these benefits from deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements in public and private insurance coverage. 
  • Beginning on January 1, 2011, Medicare beneficiaries will be eligible for a free, annual wellness visit and will have all cost-sharing waived for prevention services.