Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Anniversary Meatball

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Improving access to health care for those living with chronic illness has long been a priority of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the North Carolina Chapters. Most notably the priorities to include in health care reform were set forth in 2008 in the Society’s National Health Care Reform Principles. With this document in hand, MS Activists met with their elected leaders to ensure that these Principles were critical components in whatever legislation would be considered.

And today (September 23), marks the sixth-month anniversary of the signing of this legislation, the Affordable Health Care Act where people living with MS and many other Americans will benefit from the “Patients Bill of Rights” beginning today. Some may chalk-up this milestone as something similar to honoring the sixth-month anniversary of giving your younger brother the nickname Meatball, nevertheless, health insurance reform measures effective today may allay some of the fears of living without health insurance because of a chronic illness.

Beginning today, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to set limits on the dollar amount of health benefits that they will cover in a year or over the course of a person’s lifetime (Principle 2: Affordable Health Care Services and Coverage). Elimination of annual limits will happen gradually, until they are completely prohibited in 2014. If you have met your lifetime limit, you will need to re-enroll during your plans open enrollment period. For more information on this provision click HERE. If you have worried about reaching lifetime insurance cap due to your MS, share your story in a letter to the editor or on your social media network.

Also, starting today those purchasing new plans will not have to pay anything out of pocket for preventive services such as mammograms, routine immunizations, and cancer screenings (Principle 5: Comprehensive Quality Health Care). The new provision will work to ensure continuity of care and timely access to medical providers to help individuals with MS and other chronic illnesses achieve and maintain optimal health and wellness. For more information on this provision click HERE.

The NCActivisMS blog will continue to provide information on Affordable Care Act provisions as they take effect and other public policy issues important to people living with MS.
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