National Health Care Reform

An easier way to compare insurance plans and buy coverage

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Under national health reform, it will be easier for consumers and small businesses (and their brokers, if they work with one) to compare among different insurance plans than ever before. Here are some of the changes that are happening to make that possible:

  • Health insurance plans will be categorized by four levels or tiers based on the amount of coverage provided. Because all of the plans within each “tier”–called Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze–will offer the same level of coverage, it will be easier for shoppers to make apples-to-apples comparisons among health insurance products
  • Major upgrades will be made to the Health Connector website, including the addition of new tools that allow you to sort and compare plans so that you can easily find the right plan for you that has your doctors and your hospitals
  • For the first time, the Health Connector will be offering “one-stop shopping” for both medical and dental insurance coverage
  • People will be able to find out if they qualify for assistance paying for their health and dental insurance and enroll quickly, without a waiting period related to a pre-existing condition

These changes and improvements will directly benefit consumers and small businesses, making it easier for them to compare among plans and choose the plan that is right for them.

Improving health care quality

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National health reform offers opportunities for states like Massachusetts, with its long history of health care innovation, to continue to find new ways to improve the quality of health care for their residents. Grants for state programs will create new opportunities to reduce chronic disease, address health disparities, improve evidence-based disease prevention, develop early childhood visitation programs, and strengthen outreach and education for some Medicare beneficiaries.

National health reform also addresses other health care challenges by:

  • Increasing training and support for thousands of new primary care doctors and nurses through bonus payments, scholarships and loan repayment, and new training opportunities
  • Supporting new models of health care delivery that promote better and safer outcomes for patients

Other ways that the national health reform law helps support important programs and investments in Massachusetts include:

  • Significant increases to Massachusetts’ federal funding rates for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Savings for seniors and people with disabilities on prescription drugs
  • Tougher screening procedures, stronger penalties, and new technology will help reduce health care fraud
  • Federal funding to support better reimbursement rates for primary care providers who treat Medicaid patients