IOWA CITY, Iowa (Sept. 22, 2010) — Thursday will be a milestone day for health reform in Iowa and the rest of the nation.
"Much of the new health reform law takes effect in 2014, but some provisions take effect Thursday that will help thousands of Iowans," said Andrew Cannon, research associate for the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project (IPP).
"Beginning Thursday, Iowans won't have to postpone preventive care for financial reasons, or worry about expensive care causing them to exhaust their lifetime insurance benefits," Cannon said. "And young adults and children will have better prospects to keep insurance."
Cannon, in a short policy brief for the Iowa Fiscal Partnership, notes one change will enable adult children, up to age 26, to remain on their parents' health insurance plan if they are uninsured and not offered insurance through an employer.
"This could be significant, because young adults are far more likely to be uninsured than any other age group," Cannon said. "In Iowa, 1 in 5 Iowans between ages 19 and 25 are uninsured. That compares with less than 11 percent uninsured in the population from ages 26 to 64."
Another key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) set to take effect, Cannon said, is the assurance that children with pre-existing illnesses such as asthma may not be denied insurance coverage.
"That is going to be important to parents. They won't have to worry about inhalers or other medicine being denied to their children," Cannon said. "In Iowa, over 7 percent of children under age 17 have been estimated to have pre-existing conditions that could have led to a denial of coverage."
This provision could help 51,300 Iowa children, according to an analysis by the Lewin Group for Families USA, Cannon noted.
Also among the provisions taking effect Sept. 23:
— Required coverage of recommended preventive care and immunizations without cost-sharing (deductibles).
— Prohibition of caps on lifetime and annual benefits.
— Restrictions on rescissions, or cancellation of policies by insurance companies.
Cannon also noted a public education benefit to the implementation of pieces of the health reform law.
"As these provisions actually take effect, it will help people understand what the new law actually does. There is a lot of misinformation that has circulated, but piece by piece, it is going to be more clear," Cannon said.
The Iowa Fiscal Partnership is a joint public policy analysis initiative of two nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations, CFPC in Des Moines and the Iowa Policy Project in Iowa City. IFP reports are at www.iowafiscal.org.