Springfield, MO

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Health care reform aspects take effect

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Several aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act take effect today, six months after the federal law passed in March.

Part of the provisions taking effect will limit insurers, prohibiting them from:
  • denying coverage to children younger than 19 due to pre-existing conditions;
  • putting lifetime dollar limits on benefits;
  • canceling insurance policies without first proving fraud; and
  • denying claims without chance of appeal.
       Source:, a federal Web site managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

According to the site, changes enforced today that affect consumers include:
  • cost-free preventative services, such as screenings and vaccinations;
  • health insurance policies allowing parents to keep their children under their own insurance plan until the child is 26 or able to receive job insurance coverage;
  • freedom of direct choice of primary care doctor, ob-gyn or pediatrician without the need for referral; and
  • penalty-free emergency room use if outside the consumer plan's network.

In a Sept. 23 news release, state Senator Claire McCaskill touted her view of the measures, noting the security they will provide to the underinsured.

"When it comes to their health care, Missourians want peace of mind," she said. "With these new measures, people will no longer have to worry that they could be dropped from their coverage when they need it most, and now insurance companies can’t tell you what doctor you can see.”

Hollister-based Connell Insurance will hold a health care reform seminar Sept. 24 at the Branson Convention Center to address implications associated with the Affordable Care Act's affects on area businesses. Speakers are William Mahoney, president and CEO of Skaggs Regional Medical Center, and Samuel Drysdale, director of regional sales at Mercy Health Plans, according to a Sept. 23 news release.

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