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The New Patient's Bill of Rights

Posted on by Karina

The Affordable Care Act, passed 90 days ago, puts Americans–not the insurance companies–in control of their own health care. Today, as directed by the health insurance reform legislation, the Administration issued regulations to implement the new Patient's Bill of Rights. The regulations enable key protections to stop insurance companies from limiting care and remove insurance company barriers between patients and doctors–the new Patient's Bill of Rights:

Protects your choice of doctors

Removes insurance company barriers to emergency department services

Prohibits insurance plans from denying coverage or limiting benefits for children with pre-existing conditions

Bans arbitrary rescissions of insurance coverage

Prohibits insurance plans from placing lifetime limits on coverage and restricts the annual dollar limits on coverage by insurance plans

Speaker Pelosi on today’s regulations:

With today's announcement of guidelines for the new Patient's Bill of Rights, the Democratic-led Congress and the Obama Administration are upholding our pledge of greater access, affordability, and reliability in Americans' insurance coverage. And we are fulfilling the core promises of health reform: to protect patients, strengthen our middle class and small businesses, and put Americans and their doctor — not insurance company bureaucrats — in charge of medical care.

The new Patient's Bill of Rights ensures that children with pre-existing conditions will no longer be denied care and that parents will no longer be job-locked because of a son or daughter's illness. It bans the shameful practice of insurance companies dropping coverage when people get sick and prohibits insurers from placing lifetime limits on coverage. It removes barriers to critical, life-saving emergency medical services, and allows women direct access to the OB/GYN doctor of their choice.

Nearly 15 years after Congress first tried to pass a Patient's Bill of Rights, Democrats in Congress and President Obama enacted health insurance reform to put those rights into practice. We are acting in the best interests of our middle class, Main Street, small businesses, and workers.

Congressional Republicans are actively working to find ways to repeal these very protections — opening Americans up again to the worst practices of the insurance industry, and threatening to return us to a system of skyrocketing costs, unfair premium increases, and care denied to those who need it most. Americans have waited too long just to have these rights taken away by the cynical politics of those who side with the monied special interests in Washington.

In discussing the new Patient's Bill of Rights with several Americans struggling with some of “the worst practices in the insurance industry”, the President explained that “ultimately, all these reforms are about more than just ending a dangerous status quo”:

They're about offering stability and security to Americans who need it. Now, we're in Washington, so obviously there's politics involved. And I've got some folks on the other side of the aisle that still think none of this should happen and, in fact, have said they're going to run on a platform of repeal. They want to go back to the system we had before.

Would you? Would you want to go back to discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions? Would you want to go back to dropping coverage for people when they get sick? Would you want to reinstate lifetime limits on benefits so that mothers like Amy have to worry?

We're not going back. I refuse to go back. And so do countless Americans who bravely shared their stories with me over two years as I traveled this country, and who wrote letter after letter to me in the White House. A lot of them are here today.

In addition to the new Patient’s Bill of Rights reforms that start this fall, we’ve already seen some of the immediate benefits–since the Affordable Care Act was signed:

Insurance companies have stopped rescinding coverage of policyholders when they need it most»

Seniors hitting the “donut hole” have started receiving their $250 check»

Employers are gaining new resources to help maintain retirees' health coverage»

Small businesses are already taking advantage of tax credits that make it more affordable to provide insurance»

Many under 26 years of age have been able to stay on their parents’ health plans»

Learn more about the immediate benefits of the Affordable Care Act»

Read a fact sheet on the New Patient's Bill of Rights from HealthReform.gov»

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