Health insurance changes are coming down the pipeline, and the new plans under the Health Care Act (aka "Obamacare") will be unveiled October 2013 and will go into effect January 2014. I find this is causing concern for some, and that the biggest concerns are about cost and a general sense that people don't know what is going to change.
The Oregon Insurance Division has put out a great brochure reviewing the basics of what is included in all new plans and how rate review (regulation) works in Oregon specifically. Click the button below to download or be linked to the brochure in PDF format.
Its actually very exciting, and most consumers are going to benefit from the new plans. If you are insured through a large employer it is highly unlikely anything is going to change aside from a few new plan inclusions. Small business employees and privately insured individuals will see the biggest changes in the realm of covered services and rates, but there is much more rate regulation and review in place so the rate changes should be minimal and generally beneficial to the consumer - especially to older Americans.
If you don't want to read the brochure, here are some of the more notable points listed:
The Rehabilitative and Preventative care are the bigger areas of change, though "preventative" means wellness exams by your PCP, not alternative medicine (3,000 years of history and clinical evidence for preventative medicine here on the Chinese Medicine side of things....helloooo) fyi.
Most plans in Oregon will have a Complementary and Alternative Medicine (acupuncture, naturopathic, chiropractic, maybe massage) "rider," or supplemental plan, that you can include for an additional premium, but CAM services are not part of the Oregon essential benefits list. They ARE part of the Washington State essential benefits list, so ALL PLANS ORIGINATING IN WASHING STATE WILL INCLUDE COVERAGE FOR ACUPUNCTURE starting January 1st 2014!
I am ridiculously excited about this, if you can't tell, but it is quite amazing that Washington has included CAM services in their essential benefits list and hopefully, as our focus in the US shifts from treating disease to treating "dis-ease" and heading problems off at the curve through preventative medicine and a wellness focus, this will become the norm that all states incorporate. Ah, an acupuncturist can dream...
If you want to review the full Oregon Insurance Division brochure, please click the button below. There is also a button for the Cover Oregon health exchange site where you can learn more about how the health exchange works, enter your household information to calculate if you are likely to be eligible for a subsidy (i.e. tax refund to help pay the cost of your insurance premium starting in 2014) and sign up for alerts to stay in the know about health care exchange happenings.
So click on, read up, and stay tuned here as well - I will be trying to disseminate information about health care act related changes, sign up dates and more through my blog as best I can. I also send out information via my eZine, so if you haven't signed up yet - its time!!
Until my next inspiration and installment,
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.