HOW HEALTH CARE REFORM CAN SAVE YOU MONEY:
ACCESS TO INFORMATION: Under the new health care law (the Affordable Care Act), information about health care and health insurance will be easily accessible, which should mean better buying decisions and therefore, cost savings.
Information will be easily accessible in many ways. First and foremost, the new Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) will present insurance options in an easy to understand way. All plans on the HIM will be grouped into categories based on what level of economic coverage they provide: Platinum plans will cover about 90 percent of health care costs; Gold plans cover about 80 percent; Silver plans about 70 percent; and Bronze plans cover about 60 percent of health care costs. Consumers can easily compare costs and “bells and whistles” of plans in the same category, knowing the basic coverage will be the same.
The HIM will also clearly note the costs and any subsidy a consumer can get. So the price you see on the HIM will be the price you pay. Consumers will also be able to talk to a real person to get help by calling 1-800-318-2596. Finally, each plan offered on the HIM will have a simple one-page explanation, written in similar form and in plain language.
Other ways information is available include:
* information about health insurance rate increases is posted on healthcare.gov
* there is a new database of health care costs available online; and,
* all insurance plans will now cover the same range of procedures.
For those wanting more, there will also be lots more information available to the public (and in plain language) on what works in health care–what procedures succeed and which hospitals do the best job.
The Associated Press did a story (picked up in many papers) that Virginia is near the bottom on spending on health care reform outreach. The AP found that, on a per person basis, only Wisconsin was spending less on outreach around health care reform. This means that Virginians will probably hear less about the opportunities that reform presents. Because fewer people hear about it, fewer will take advantage of those opportunities. And since health insurance actually costs less as more people buy it, this could mean that Virginians will not get the fullest benefit.
The Virginia Organizing Grassroots Gathering will be at the University of Richmond’s Robbins School of Business starting at. The gathering will be a good chance to learn more about health care reform. The main speaker in the morning will be Jill Hanken of the Virginia Poverty Law Center, who will explain the law and its potential impacts. In the afternoon, there will be a chance to talk about action steps around implementation. It is also a great way to meet other grassroots leaders on health care reform from around the state.
Since we know that something related to health care reform will be coming up in next year’s state legislature, we are planning two VMSA lobby days to allow small business folks to talk directly to our elected leaders. We have decided onas the two days for VMSA lobbying. Mark your calendar now and plan to join us. Spending a day in the legislature is a real education and we can make a difference.
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