By Lisa Zamosky
By the end of 2012, more than 50 parts of the Affordable Care Act had already taken effect. Yet, a number of the law’s benefits are being overlooked. It’s no surprise, given that a recent poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 42% of Americans don’t realize that the Affordable Care Act is law.
Here are three rights now available under the law that you may not realize you have.
1. You don’t have to pay for preventive care
I talk to a lot of people who have high-deductible health plans who put off going to the doctor to avoid paying the full cost of care.
What most people don’t realize, however, is that the law allows them to get preventive care – services such as annual flu shots, screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and colorectal cancer, mammograms and well-woman visits – at no cost. That means your visit is not subject to your plan’s deductible and you won’t be required to pay a co-payment, or co-insurance.
View a full list of no-cost preventive services at Healthcare.gov.
2. Your kids can’t be turned down
Many people are aware that young adults are now allowed to remain on their parents’ health plan until they reach age 26. This is one part of the law that’s gotten a lot of media attention.
But what many people don’t realize is that if you have a child younger than 19 who has a health condition and he or she isn’t covered by your employer’s plan, you can buy a new policy on the private insurance market without the threat of your child being turned down.
Insurers selling new policies are no longer allowed to deny any child younger than the age of 19 a health plan, even if he or she has a pre-existing medical condition.
3. If you’re 65 or older, you may save money on your drug costs
If you have Medicare coverage and take a lot of medications, you may be familiar with the Medicare donut hole—the gap in prescription drug coverage that starts once you’ve spent ,970 on your medications and ends only once you’ve spent ,750.
Because of health reform if you enter the donut hole you’ll now receive a 52.5% discount on name brand drugs and an 11% discount on generics. The government estimates that in 2013, Medicare recipients who reach the prescription drug donut hole will save 6 as a result of the law.
What’s more, the discounts grow over time. By 2020, if you hit the donut hole you’ll pay just 25% of the cost of both name brand and generic prescription drugs.
Are you taking full advantage of the benefits available to you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.