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News: Prescriber's Letter September 2013
 You'll see big changes as key parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are implemented on January 1.
   Starting in 2014, "Obamacare" will require most U.S. citizens to enroll in a health plan or pay a penalty.
   This means millions of patients will start shopping for a health plan this fall...and enter the health care system as insured next year.
   The Health Insurance Marketplace, or "exchange," will open on October 1 to help people compare and purchase plans.
   Plans will offer a comprehensive set of benefits...but copays will vary. Plans with lower premiums will have higher copays.
   There will also be less expensive catastrophic coverage plans for people under 30...to encourage younger and healthier folks to sign up.
   Advise patients to check a plan's pharmacy benefit to make sure their drugs will be covered.
   Federal subsidies will help reduce costs for some patients...depending on their income level.
   People can apply for financial assistance if they make up to four times the federal poverty level...or about $45K/year for an individual. Very low-income people will be enrolled in Medicaid.
   Prevention will be huge. Annual wellness exams and many health screenings will be covered at no charge to patients.
   Risk adjustments will compensate plans that attract more high-risk patients to help stabilize premiums. But expect this to put more emphasize on coding diagnoses properly.
   The Sunshine Act requires drug companies to report all gifts to clinicians over $10...starting August 1, 2013. Be careful not to accept any gifts if you don't want to be on this public list.
   Use our new PL Toolbox, Choosing a Health Plan Under the Affordable Care Act, for a link to the exchange, patient handout, and more. Or contact the exchange at 800-318-2596 or HealthCare.gov.

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