By the Editors of Men’s Health
Much of the new health-care reform bill will take effect in stages between now and 2015, but many Americans still don’t understand what the changes are, according to a summer poll by Harris Interactive. Whatever your politics, it’s worth knowing what will happen–so you can take advantage.
You get free stuff
So there’s the flu shot… and cholesterol test… and, damn, annual checks add up. But now you can score preventive services–like costly vaccines, colon-cancer screenings, and diabetes tests–for free. New plans have to cover all of certain preventive measures. (“New” means a plan you sign up for after September 22; existing plans are exempt, but there are new limits on how much your costs can rise from now on.) See healthcare.gov for a list of gratis care options, and then stop making excuses and go see your doctor.
You can’t be dropped
“Applying for health insurance on your own is really, really complicated,” says David Nather, author of The New Health Care System. “Nobody can remember every little thing they need to report.” Old loopholes let insurers use tiny glitches, like forgetting to report a blood-pressure spike, as grounds for dropped coverage. But now, as long as you pay your premiums, it’s illegal for insurers to drop you if you become suddenly, expensively sick. If you think you’ve been dumped unfairly, you can appeal–and actually win.