Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Because Your Doctor Cares: What You Need to Know About the New Health Law

We know the federal health law is big and confusing. Some parts of the new law started immediately. Others will roll out over the next 10 years. Texas physicians have carefully studied the Affordable Care Act so we can help you understand what the changes mean to you.

On a regular basis we will answer questions Texas patients have asked or provide information you need to know. Please feel free to submit your questions about the new law at Me&MyDoctor.

The Big Questions

Q. Will I still be able to see my current doctor?

A: Generally, yes. However, your doctor may or may not continue to participate in your health plan or in Medicare or Medicaid. Talk to your doctor.

Q. Will I still be able to get the care I need?

A: There is no simple answer to that. Much of what is in the new law has never been tried before. We (your doctors) pledge to do the very best we can to make sure our patients get the care they need.

Q. How much will this cost me?

A: Again, there’s no simple answer. Some preventive services, like vaccines and screening tests, will be fully covered. People on Medicare will find more of the costs of their drugs covered. But there are also penalties for people who don’t get health insurance. Experts do not agree on what will happen to the cost of insurance policies. But your doctors are concerned that costs to some patients will likely rise. How much is hard to estimate.

More important information on the ACA: The Kaiser Family Foundation has two important and fun resources available to help patients better understand the new law. Watch this informative and fun video. And, if you want to learn how the new law affects your health insurance coverage, click on this interactive map.

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