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Major Changes In Health Insurance Take Effect

Audio

Aired 9/23/10

A number of provisions of the new federal health reform law take effect today. Consumers will see some major changes.

— A number of provisions of the new federal health reform law take effect today. Consumers will see some major changes.

Starting today, insurers can no longer place a lifetime cap on health coverage. Preventive services like pap smears and mammograms have to be provided at no cost. And children can't be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Dr. Ted Mazer is an ear, nose, and throat specialist in San Diego. He said these changes will improve access, but as a price.

"The downside, of course," said Mazer, "is that they can actually lead to immediate higher costs, and we're seeing that already in the marketplace. And they're affecting the marketplace negatively, with some plans already saying they're going to stop writing individual coverage for children as a result."

Federal officials have warned insurers not to use health reform as an excuse to raise premiums. Even so, many major companies, including Anthem Blue Cross, and Aetna, have announced price increases.

While the new health reform provisions take effect today, most people with insurance won't feel the changes until their policy renews next year.

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