Sunday, August 25, 2013

Health Reform Q&A

In our previous post (click here) we requested your questions about the Health Reform bill. Thank you all for your questions. See below for your questions and our answers.

Q: What is Health Reform?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is a comprehensive bill that reformed health care. It was signed into law in March 2010. It is also known as: The Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obamacare or Health Reform; all of these names refer to this bill.

Q:  I have heard the EDC talk about ‘Parity’ is this different than Health Reform?

Yes, Parity refers to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act and requires that insurers offer the same level of benefits for mental health or substance use disorders that they do for medical treatment. If your health insurance covers medical or surgical coverage, then they must cover mental health disorders at parity.

Q: What part of Health Reform is especially important to the EDC?

A key area that the EDC is monitoring and influencing is the essential health benefits that will be covered by the benchmark plans sold in the state exchanges. Health insurance exchanges will be marketplaces where small businesses and individuals who don’t have health insurance through their employer can purchase health plans. 

As the ACA is implemented and as the Exchanges go live in 2014, it is essential that we ensure that all mental health services are covered at parity and that all levels of care are covered. The first key step for us is enrollment into the Exchanges, which will begin October 1, 2013.

Q: Does Health Reform matter to me?

Certainly, there may be changes that apply to you, personally (mandatory coverage, etc.), but for eating disorders coverage it is important that the exchanges cover eating disorders at parity. See these blog posts for additional details.

Q: Will the EDC continue to update me, on Health Reform?

Yes, of course.

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