As of 2010...
- If you have a pre-existing medical condition – including type 1 or type 2 diabetes – and have been uninsured for at least six months, you may be eligible for a new federally subsidized, high-risk insurance pool until 2014, when private health insurance exchanges will become available. The maximum annual out-of-pocket costs will be $5,950 for individuals and $11,900 for a family.
- Seniors on Medicare's Part D prescription drug plan who land in the "doughnut hole" (reimbursements stop after the first $2,830 and don't resume until costs reach $6,440) will get a rebate up to $250 this year. In 2011, they will receive a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs, and by 2020 the hole will be completely closed. (Next year, Medicare also will pay 100 percent of the cost for an annual checkup, vaccines, and screening tests.)
- Lifetime or annual limits on benefit payments will be eliminated. This can be critical for people with diabetes, who on average spend twice as much on healthcare as people who don't have the disease.
- Children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied insurance coverage.
- Young adults can remain on a parent's individual or group insurance plan until they turn 26. The rule does not apply to employer-sponsored plans if the child's job offers health insurance.
- Deductibles and co-payments for many preventative services and screenings will be eliminated. This may help curb the increase in type 2 diabetes and thereby reduce U.S. health care costs, according to the ADA, including $112 billion spent annually on diabetes treatment.
- Insurance companies will no longer be able to drop policyholders who get sick and start filing expensive claims.
- American Diabetes Association. Updates on Healthcare Reform. http://advocacy.diabetes.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ADA_health_care_reform_updates. (Accessed 03/10)
- Diabetes Health. Moving Toward a Healthcare Bill: What People with Diabetes Need to Know. http://www.diabeteshealth.com/read/2010/01/19/6526/moving-toward-a-healthcare-bill-what-people-with-diabetes-need-to-know/. (Accessed 03/10)
- The New York Times. How Different Types of People Will Be Affected by the Health Care Overhaul. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/03/24/us/politics/20100319-health-care-effect.htm#tab=5. (Accessed 03/10)
- The New York Times. For Consumers, Clarity on Health Care Changes. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/22/your-money/health-insurance/22consumer.html. (Accessed 03/10)
- Kaiser Health News. How The Health Bill Would Affect You. http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Daily-Reports/2010/March/22/Consumer-Impact-of-Bill.aspx. (Accessed 03/10)
- The New York Times. The New Landscape of Health Care. http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/29/the-new-landscape-of-health-care/. (Accessed 03/29/10)
- Diabetes Forecast Magazine. Health Care Reform Promises Coverage for All With Diabetes. http://forecast.diabetes.org/magazine/advocacy/health-care-reform-promises-coverage-all-diabetes. (Access 03/10)
- Novo Nordisk. Issue 1: Healthcare Reform. Novo Nordisk Bluesheet: Quarterly Perspectives on Diabetes and Chronic Diseases (Accessed 07/10)
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Some people have trained diabetes alert dogs that bark and lick their face in the middle of the night when their child is experiencing dangerously high or low blood sugars. I don't have a dog to wake me up. When I sleep past the alarm and forget to test my son's blood sugar, I turn to my go-to guy - a hallucinatory stone-faced murderer. Completely zonked hours after I wanted to wake up and check Charlie, I found myself walking along the...