In many ways, health insurance has become standardized. Before you awake the horrifying memories of Scantrons and filling in test bubbles, just hear us out.
A 30-year-old male does not need the same health insurance benefits as a 40-year-old woman with a child on the way. That’s a fact. However, under the Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), their insurance plans must cover the same 10 Essential Health Benefits. It’s a new standard because of health care reform, and the change could bring you new benefits or save you money.
Here are the 10 services that must be covered by certain health insurance plans starting in 2014.
1. Outpatient Care
To start, outpatient care refers to medical services that do not require an overnight stay. Outpaitent Care is performed in qualified medical centers, usually not in hospitals. Leaving out an overnight stay already astronomically reduces the costs of your medical services. An overnight stay in an American hospital can costs more than $4,000 on average. Important outpatient services include: Wellness & prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. All the services provided occur in one location and the staff is well-qualified. This type of care is now covered under the ACA and can save you both time and money.
2. Emergency Care
No one plans on hurting themselves but it happens. You don’t enter into a basketball game thinking: “I really want to break my leg this game.” The last thing you want to worry about in an emergency is if your insurance is going to cover it. With a major medical health insurance plan, you can have peace of mind. Gas may be expensive but ambulance bills can be stunning. A 15 minute, nine mile ambulance ride could cost you over $1,700. In cases of emergency, the ACA includes the costs of ambulance rides under coverage. Life is unpredictable; the safest person could find themselves in the hospital the next day for circumstances beyond their control.
3. Hospital Stays
We just got through preaching to you how expensive a night in the hospital can be. Coverage under the ACA is different because annual dollar limits on essential health insurance benefits will not be allowed. Some emergency care procedures do not require a hospital stay but others may require a night in the ICU. The Affordable Care Act has you covered either way.
4. Mental Health Coverage
Admit it- you’ve cited “mental health day” as a reason you did not come into work. There is some scrutiny involved with mental health but those who are affected by mental illnesses know just how important care can be. We all have stressors in life but unexpected events, like a death in the family, can make us feel hopeless. Anyone can be affected by mental health issues and now everyone with insurance will be covered for mental health matters.
5. Prescription Drugs
Almost everyone will take a prescription drug at some point in their life. Prescription drugs treat short-term and long-term illnesses and help avoid making a bigger deal out of a once-easily treatable illness. With insurance, prescription drugs are covered.
6. Rehab Services
We’ve already established that coverage for emergency services is vital. Sometimes our emergencies are resolved but have lasting effects. Recovering from a car accident can include not only a night in the hospital but months of physical therapy. Most injuries heal with time and effort; 2014 major medical insurance plans are required to cover rehab service, giving you the freedom to achieve your full wellness again.
7. Lab Services
Lab services are a necessity for proper diagnosis. Pinpointing the exact cause of an ailment can be obtained through lab tests. Processing these exams can come with hefty fees because they involve many complex steps. Only qualified professionals can conduct them. ACA required that the fees associated with lab services are covered.
8. Free Preventive Care
Preventive medicine is the best way to prevent serious health problems. Routine screenings can save you the stress of a surprise illness and can cut the cost of your medical bills drastically. Monitoring your health is essential to your well-being. You will never know you are at risk unless you take the steps to check for warning signs. Take advantage of covered preventive care services to help you find those warning signs.
9. Maternity & Newborn Care
It may seem like Maternity and newborn care may not to affect males, but that is not the case. It affects the women in their lives and it affects their children. A baby is fragile and it needs the proper care to be healthy. It is a parent’s main goal to provide for their children. They need their parents’ support the most when they are new to this world. Health care reform aims to make maternity and newborn care more accessible.
10. Pediatric Care (including Vision and Dental)
This last Essential Health Benefit goes along with the previous component but applies after your child has grown out of the newborn stage. Certain health insurance plans in the past may have covered doctor fees but left the expenses of glasses or filled cavities up to the parents. The ACA makes pediatric care an essential to all qualifying plans. This measure aims to protect your child’s well-being and it can save parents hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
Combine all these services and one can see just how important they are to the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. Your health is always the most important thing in your life but requiring these components in a health care plan also saves you money. Benefits that may seem inapplicable to your life could end up saving it.