Changes To Your Health Care

By: Meaghan M. Norman
By: Meaghan M. Norman

Now that it's the new year do you know the details of your insurance plans inside and out?

"For any employer that offers dependent coverage to one of their employers, they need to extend that coverage to the children of those employers up to the age of 26," said Jason Moon, spokesman for the State Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation, which oversees private insurance companies. "Consumers cannot be charged a copay or deductible for preventative services like immunizations or mammograms."

Seniors will see discounts on brand name and generic drugs as well as free preventative benefits. It also no longer makes pre-existing conditions a problem. Scott Wilkerson, president of the Physicians Health Plan says the new law has opened the door for them to do more for Michigan residents.

"HIP Michigan ----- [A plan for] those people without insurance who also have significant illnesses or otherwise considered pre-existing conditions that couldn't otherwise get insurance can get it through the federally managed program," said Wilkerson.

Employer plans have to spend eighty to eighty-five percent of the money you pay for services related to medical care.

"We consistently run around 88% to 90% so we're well above the requirements and we really shouldn't see any issue here, but it may be an issue for other insurers," said Wilkerson.

The law also has a new rule for people with flexible spending accounts; there will be restrictions on those funds for over-the-counter medications, and there is a maximum amount that you can contribute. Many of the bigger changes to health care reform including a mandate that everyone buy insurance will be coming in 2014.

If you feel you are being mistreated by your insurer, you are urged to call the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation. 1-877-999-6442. Or you can visit their Web site by clicking on the link at the bottom of the story.

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