Some Changes to Health Care Law Take Effect

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

LANSING -- Doctor Barry Saltman founded Lansing's Care Free Clinic.

A clinic that has seen countless patients who came there after they found insurance to be simply too expensive, or were denied coverage.

"To have a youngster who has a condition that needs ongoing care, and to have them turned down because of a pre-existing condition? I can think of three off the top of my head here now," Saltman said Thursday.

One of those three patients was recovering from a brain tumor. He had a clean bill of health after an operation but couldn't get coverage afterwards.

Thursday that becomes outlawed, as does placing limits on lifetime benefits and charging co-pays for preventative care.

"From the perspective of the type of medicine we practice, which is family medicine, preventative care plays a huge role," Saltman said.

This all comes as the number of uninsured here in Michigan continues to climb -- now more than 10 percent of the population.

State officials say putting some of those people back under care could help drive down costs for everyone else.

"This spreads risk across the system," said Jason Moon, with the state Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation. "So people who do have insurance won't have to pay for the people who don't when they go to the emergency room."

That has the call center at OFIR swamped with calls -- everyone wanting to know how this law impacts them.

Students, for one, are celebrating the change -- like 19-year Derick Clark, who lost his coverage under his dad's plan.

"I got booted when I turned 19," said Derick, who's now in his first year at Lansing Community College. His father had to purchase a separate plan for him.

Now he can instead stay covered under his parents until he's 26 years old.

And he's looking forward to another wave of changes come 2014.

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