What Now?

10 Instant Effects of Reform

Health-care reform may have been historic, but many of its biggest reforms won’t take place for at least a couple of years. So what does the health-care bill change right now? Crooks and Liars has assembled a handy list of immediate changes. After President Obama signs the bill, children will be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance until their 26th birthdays. No child under 19 will be excluded from plans because of preexisting conditions. It will eliminate caps on how much care you can get in one year. Adults with preexisting conditions will be able to start shopping online for a plan in a national high-risk pool while waiting for insurance exchanges to get started. Small business can deduct as much as 50 percent of employees’ health benefits for tax purposes in 2009 and 2010. It will fill in the “donut hole” of Medicare prescription drug coverage with a rebate. Insurers will have to post their balance sheets online, listing administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments. And you can no longer be dropped from your insurance plan just because you get sick.