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Effective date of health reform laws


Our guest asks:

When will the health insurance reform provisions become effective?

OnlineAdviser responds:

The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 will be phased-in to prevent a shock to consumers and the health insurance market. The first reforms become effective Sept. 23, 2010. Although this batch of changes are relatively minor and affect only a few individuals who may apply for new insurance, we are currently focused on deciphering and implementing these specific provisions for debut in less than 6 months' time. These changes include the guaranteed eligibility of children who apply for new health insurance and the inability of insurance companies to rescind insurance coverage unless a fraudulent statement was made on the application. This column will cover each of these reform provisions individually as details become available.

For those covered by employer-provided group health insurance, these reforms become effective when the insurance policy renews - January 1, 2011 for many group insurance plans.

The majority of the substantive changes do not become effective before 2014 and the details will likely change before that date so these reforms are not further addressed here.

It is also important to realize that some of the reforms do not affect current insurance policies at all and are only effective for new insurance plans issued on or after Sept. 23, 2010. This allows those with insurance to keep their current health plan and provides a window of opportunity for some to lock in lower priced coverage before the effects of the reform laws pushed rates higher. Also, some policies are exempt from the reform provisions including supplemental insurance, short term and travel policies and income replacement insurance policies .

The effects of the near-term provisions will be manageable for most consumers although insurance prices will rise more sharply than in the past. But by the end of 2014 insurance analysts expect that the average rate of a new plan that meets the reform provisions will be double the cost of current health insurance.


OnlineAdviser and OnlineNavigator services respond to consumer questions in a range of published media. Effective July 1, 2012 all questions about health insurance are governed by the terms and conditions of and other consumer finance questions are handled through although the two services may otherwise be referred to interchangeably in this Web site and other publications. Selected questions and responses related to health insurance are republished here to help others with the same issues. Privacy is protected; personal information is removed prior to publication. These services are provided without charge on a best-efforts basis.

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This web site is independently owned and managed by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.