With Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling largely upholding the national health care reform law, many California programs will survive, to the relief of participants.
Among the people affected by the state programs set up to move the state toward the full law are:
--More than 400,000 low-income, mostly childless adults are receiving coverage through interim Low-Income Health Programs in 47 counties. These were set up in anticipation of transferring people to Medi-Cal when it expands in 2014.
--Nearly 11,000 people are covered under a Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan set up for those whose health problems make it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain insurance. This program, funded through the national health reform law, will last until 2014 when insurers can no longer reject people based on their medical condition.
--Millions of Californians who will be able to use a state Health Benefit Exchange 2014. This will be a marketplace where many consumers can choose a health plan and determine whether they qualify for subsidies. The state has hired staff and is making policy decisions to begin pre-enrolling people in October 2013.
Many consumers were closely following what would happen with benefits they receive under the law. These will now continue, including:
--Help for seniors who hit a Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as "the doughnut hole."
--The elimination of lifetime caps on health insurance benefits.
--Free annual wellness visits for Medicare recipients and free preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies.
--Insurance company rebates to customers such as the $73.9 millions that went out to nearly 1.9 million Californians this summer, averaging $65 per family.
--A requirement that beginning in 2014, insurers accept all people, regardless of pre-existing health problems.
--Young adults can remain on their parents' health insurance policies up to age 26.
--Children with health problems no longer can be rejected by insurers.
--As of Sunday, maternity services must be included in new health insurance policies.
--Insurers can no longer cancel people's coverage when they become ill because of unintentional misrepresentations on their applications.
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