Affordable Care Act Improves Quality of Health Insurance

By: Taylor

Affordable Care Act has brought many reforms in health insurance system. It brought many provisions to improve quality and efficiency of health care and cutting down administrative costs and waste in health care system. Some of the provision leading to improved quality and lowered costs are listed below.

Small Business Health Insurance Tax Credits – The law has made provision for health insurance tax credit for small businesses. It will benefit around 4 million small businesses. The first phase will offer credit up to 35% of the employer’s contribution in health insurance for employees. Up to 25% credit will be given to small non-profit organizations. The second phase will provide credit up to 50% of the employer’s contribution to provide health insurance for employees. For small non-profit organizations it is 35% and will be effective from 1st January 2014.

Relief for Seniors in Medicare Prescription Drug “Donut Hole” – A large number of senior citizens will fall in the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage or “donut hole”. The act offers a one-time tax free rebate check of $250 for them.

Free Preventive Care – The act has mandated all new plans to cover certain preventive services including mammograms and colonoscopies free of any extra cost. It has allocated $15 billion for Prevention and Public Health. The act also offers certain free preventive services including annual wellness visits and personalized prevention plans for seniors enrolled in Medicare. New funding to state Medicaid programs has been also allocated for free preventive services.

Checking Health Care Fraud – More resources has been allocated to check health care frauds. New screening procedures have been designed for health care providers to boost to check fraud and waste in health care.

Prescription Drug Coverage for seniors – Seniors will get a discount of 50% while Medicare Part D covered brand-name prescription drugs. They will also get additional savings on brand-name and generic drugs until 2020.

Quality and Efficiency of Health Care – A new center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation has been established with the aim of finding new ways of delivering quality care to patients. It will help to improve the quality and efficiency of health care.

Cost Cutting – The Independent Payment Advisory Board is set up to find ways to reduce waste in the health insurance system. It will aim at improving health care and expanding access to high-quality care.

Integrated Health Systems – It offers incentives to physicians to join “Accountable Care Organizations.” These organizations will help in better coordination in patient care and improve quality of health care. It will also help to prevent disease and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.

Reduction of Paperwork and Administrative Costs – The act aims at reducing paper work, administrative costs and medical errors. It will also standardize billing. It will lead to adoption of rules to secure, confidential, electronic exchange of health information.

Checking Health Disparities – It provides for collection and reporting of racial, ethnic and language data by federal health care programs to check disparities in health care.

Expanding Authority to Bundle Payments – A national pilot program has been launched to encourage hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers to work together. It will improve the coordination and quality of patient care. It encourages “bundle payment”. All hospitals, doctors, and providers are paid a flat rate for an episode of care.

More Affordable Health Care – The act aims at making health care more affordable by offering tax credits. It offers affordable insurance for eligible but uncovered people with income between 100% and 400% of the poverty line.

Health Insurance Marketplace – The creation of health insurance market place will enable consumers to buy health insurance directly in the Health Insurance Marketplace. It will offer transparency and competitiveness resulting in quality improvement of health care.

Payment to Physicians on Value Basis Not Volume – The act has linked payment to physicians to value of services not the volume of services. The act also offers financial incentives to hospitals giving value care. The measures include heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care and health-care associated infections.

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