The United States health care system creates many questions for most Americans. The required changes are new with many details and the system can seem overwhelming and confusing. The majority of changes were immediate taking place instantaneously after the health care system was approved. However, there were more changes in 2010 and consumers should be prepared for scheduled changes in 2011, with the most dramatic occurring in 2014.

Immediate Changes Effective in 2010

When the health care system was implemented in 2010, some changes were immediate. For instance, small businesses were now able to apply for a tax credit for providing health group health insurance options for their employees. In addition, elderly people on Medicare that were previously in the “donut hole” received price drops for their prescriptions. The “donut hole” is the period of time after Medicare stops paying for prescriptions and before they resume paying. Because of these changes, pools of coverage began to emerge, providing people with pre-existing conditions more affordable coverage.

Changes that Occurred Year Ending

Towards the end of 2010, there were some big changes in health insurance. Across the board, parents are now allowed to insure their children on their policies until they are 26 years old. In addition, lifetime limits were banished altogether. The lifetime limits provision was the maximum amount that an insurance company would pay out for medical costs for any one person. Additionally, insurance companies cannot drop people’s coverage due to illness and children can no longer be denied health insurance coverage for any pre-existing conditions.

Changes for 2011

While last year there were many changes to health care, 2011 does not have as many modifications. The changes for 2011 in the health care system affect mostly insurance companies and Medicare policyholders. Insurance companies, beginning this year, will be required to spend 80-85% of all premiums towards medical care for the insured people or return the money in the form of a rebate. In addition, beginning this year, preventive care services will be offered to Medicare holders at no cost.

What to Look Forward to in 2014

The most impacting changes are scheduled to be enforced in 2014. At that time, health insurance companies will no longer be able to deny any applicant health insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions. This is a huge change; many Americans who need health insurance do not currently qualify for coverage. In addition, insurance companies will be able to impose yearly limits for benefits. With these changes, many people will be able to qualify for health insurance. Furthermore, the most significant change due to occur in 2014 is the mandate that all American’s must have health insurance.

The changes that have taken place in the new health care system are vast. Many of these changes have already been enforced and some changes are going into effect this year. Within the next three years, all Americans will be required to have health insurance coverage and insurance companies will not be able to turn away any applicant due to health conditions.

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