One year after Congress passed the federal health care reform law, polls continue to show that there is significant confusion, misinformation and myths surrounding the implications of the law. And finding straightforward answers isn’t always easy.
Families, employers, insurance agents and health care professionals who have struggled to cut through the clutter of health care reform have a new tool to help them assess which changes apply to them now and in the years to come, thanks to a new Web site from Detroit-based Health Alliance Plan.
“It’s challenging — though not impossible — to separate the facts from the hype and find straightforward answers about The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, because we’re constantly bombarded with opinions on health care reform,” said Rory Lafferty, manager of regulatory, legislative and strategic reforms at HAP and a member of the Governance Workgroup for Michigan’s Health Insurance Exchange Planning process.
Consumers, employers, agents and health care professionals are looking for unbiased information in a simple, quick format. Lafferty said that’s why HAP created www.haphealthcarereform.com, where users can answer a few simple questions to get an instant, printable Health Care Reform and Me summary of applicable provisions and the year in which they become effective.
And because there are still many “unknowns” when it comes to specific provisions, users can sign up to receive e-mail alerts when new information becomes available. The site also features a glossary of terms and links to additional resources.
Whether they are uninsured, purchase their own health care coverage, or are covered by an employer or government health plan, individuals and families can use Health Care Reform and Me to learn which changes apply to them, such as the removal of over-the-counter drugs purchased without a physician’s prescription as a qualified medical expense for a Health Reimbursement Account or a health Flexible Spending Account, and the reduction of the Medicare Part D premium subsidy for higher-income Medicare beneficiaries.
Employers — particularly smaller employers — are turning to insurance agents and consultants for guidance on health care reform, and more employees than ever before are turning to their employer for information about their coverage. Employers (and their agents) can use this site to assess how their business and its most valuable asset — employees — may be affected by provisions such as a requirement to disclose the value of applicable employer-sponsored coverage on employees’ annual W-2; and an opportunity to offer employees incentives of up to 30 percent of the cost of coverage for participating in a wellness program and meeting health targets.
Patients count on their health care providers to stay informed. Health Care Reform and Me can help health care professionals assess which changes may affect their patients and/or their staff, such as a requirement for Medicare to cover a health risk assessment and a visit to a personal care physician (PCP) to create a personalized disease prevention plan, and if a plan requires designation of a PCP, individuals must be able to choose from any participating PCP that is accepting patients, including pediatricians.
Health Alliance Plan is a nonprofit health plan that provides health coverage to 500,000 members and companies of all sizes. HAP offers PPO, HMO, Value and Medicare plans with award-winning preventive services, disease management, wellness programs and customer service.