Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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New year, new changes to health care

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Buffalo: New year, new changes to health care
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A new series of health care provisions under the Affordable Care Act kicked in this week and it could mean changes to your coverage. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on the Act and how it could affect your coverage this year.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — While Tuesday marked a new year on the calendar, it also marked some new changes in health care.

"I think it's pretty unacceptable that we have 50 million Americans that are uninsured; however, there's going to be a lot of pain and challenges in achieving that," Independent Health Vice President of Government Affairs Roberta Rifkin said.

That's the goal of the Affordable Care Act enacted in 2010, covering millions of Americans who are uninsured – with new provisions rolling out every year until 2014 and several of them took effect Tuesday.

"It includes a really important provision that will cover preventive services for a $0 co-pay,” Rifkin said. “We know that providing that kind of coverage is critical and important to improving health over time."

That also means additional funding for state Medicaid programs that provide screenings to prevent cancer and easier access to cancer treatment centers themselves.

"We still, unfortunately, see far too many people who have late stage cancer because they have not been able to go get screening services," said Dr. Stephen Edge, a health services researcher at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Not only are those services now available those who are insured, but access to clinical trials that help those like Edge treat cancer will soon be, as well.

"We'll be able to speed discovery and improve cancer care in the future," he said.

It's one of the many things that will fall under affordable health insurance exchanges set to roll out in 2014.

"The health exchange is a new web-based marketplace to purchase health coverage for individuals and small groups and open enrollment for individuals will begin on October 1st," Rifkin said.

Rifkin compared the exchange to sites like Travelocity, where patients will be able to shop and compare coverage plans.

Also this month, you can expect to see your contribution to your current plan, along with your employer's listed on your W-2.

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