With all the talk about healthcare in the news lately, it’s easy to forget that Obamacare, is still in effect. Until there is a replacement healthcare law enacted we can continue to treat healthcare the same as before. So, with that in mind we can still expect changes with Obamacare like we would with any other healthcare law. Here are three changes to expect with Obamacare in 2017.
Reacting to complaints about the availability of information regarding the network of doctors and hospitals a change has been made. This year there are new rules.
Insurers will be required to give consumers 30-days’ notice when a provider is being removed from the network, and continue to provide coverage for that provider for up to 90 days for patients in active treatment. In addition, the Marketplaces will note the relative breadth of each plan’s network with three size designations – basic, standard, and broad.
Another common complaint has been one of patients is receiving a “surprise” bill from an out-of-network provider – especially when the patient thought the provider was in-network. This has hopefully been addressed with new guidelines.
First, amounts paid by consumers for ancillary care – such as anesthesiology or radiology – will be required to count toward a patient’s annual out-of-pocket maximum. As KHN notes, this is important because once a patient hits that out-of-pocket maximum, the insurer is responsible for all in-network medical costs for the rest of the year. One thing to note however is that the new rule only applies in cases where the insurer has not given patients proper notice (generally 48 hours) that they might receive care and bills from such out-of-network providers.
There has also been a new rule added in an effort to make comparison shopping easier. The administration is requesting that next year (2017) insurers voluntarily offer plans with a standard set of coverage costs, such as standard deductibles and co-payments. The idea here is that consumers will better understand the out-of-pocket costs associated with a plan.
Hopefully these changes will make things a little better.