What patients can expect with health care bill's passage - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

What patients can expect with health care bill's passage

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Nearly 32-million uninsured Americans will soon be covered under the country's sweeping health care reform plan; 6-million live in the lone star state. What does it all mean for you and your health coverage?

Once the president signs, the deadline will be set. By the year 2014, every American will be required to have health insurance or pay a fine.

Except people with low incomes. Insurance companies will become a lot friendlier, banned from denying coverage to adults with pre-existing conditions.

"Dealing with health care, and health care problems and access has been a problem since World War II," said David Young, Total Healthcare Center.

Tyler's Total Healthcare Center serves CHIP, and Medicaid patients, the insured and the uninsured, like Alma Salgado and her 11-month-old daughter, Bella.

"I came in...they gave her medicine...they started treating her since then," said Salgado. "Good thing they're here."

"I guess time will tell if we're doing the correct strategy for this...but we believe, in health care, something needed to be don," said Young.

Once the new bill is signed insurance companies will be banned from dropping sick patients and kids and prohibited from denying kids with pre-existing conditions. Coverage will not be limited and children can remain on their parents' plans until age 26.

There are also provisions for seniors, like Gene Stewart who has prostate cancer. Thankfully, he says, he is insured and has access to a doctor.

"I wouldn't be here if I didn't have that," said Stewart.

Seniors will get $250 rebates to help fill the "Medicare doughnut hole for prescription drugs." Free, annual preventative check-ups will also be available. But federal subsidies to Medicare-advantage plans will also be cut starting in 2012.

"Medicare will still be here...There may be some changes, we don't know what they are yet...so the only thing to do is continue doing what you've been doing," said Julia Ayers, with Azalea Medicare Supplements.

The nearly $940,000,000,000 package is expected to be fully implemented over 10 years.

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