Factbox: Basic provisions and timeline for health law

(BestGrowthStock) – More parts of the sweeping healthcare law passed in March 2010 take effect this month just as Republicans take over the House of Representatives vowing to dismantle the bill.

Any changes would require support from both the House and the Democrat-controlled Senate as well as President Barack Obama, who made the healthcare law a top domestic goal. The law aims to expand healthcare insurance to roughly 30 million Americans and imposes a host of new industry rules and taxes.

Democrats say elements starting in 2011, combined with other consumer protections that took effect last year, will boost support for the measure, although House Republicans will hold a vote on repeal this month.

Here are some of the law’s major provisions and when they were implemented or are set to take effect:


Several consumer protection rules took effect in September, including allowing children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26, banning lifetime coverage limits and ending denial of coverage for children because of pre-existing health conditions.

A temporary insurance program was created to help provide coverage to “high risk” patients with pre-existing conditions.

A phase-in of tax credits began for certain small businesses that provide health insurance to workers.


Health insurance companies — which include Aetna Inc and WellPoint Inc — face new limits that call for at least 85 cents of every premium dollar to go toward medical costs, with 15 cents for overhead and salaries.

Small group or individual plans must spend at least 80 cents per dollar on care.

Drugmakers must offer a 50 percent discount on brand name drugs for elderly or disabled Americans enrolled in Medicare’s Part D prescription drug plans who also hit the so-called “doughnut hole” coverage gap. Generic drugs will also cost less.


Private Medicare plans called Medicare Advantage will see lower government reimbursement payments. The plans can offer more benefits than traditional Medicare coverage but also can cost more.

To help pay for the overhaul, the pharmaceutical industry — including Pfizer Inc, Merck & Co Inc and other drugmakers — begin paying more than $2 billion a year in taxes.


Taxes on medical devices begin. The fees for device makers such as Boston Scientific Corp and Medtronic Inc will come in the form of a 2.3 percent sales tax.

Medicare beneficiaries with Part D prescription plans will see additional savings on branded medicines when they hit the doughnut hole, this time from government subsides.


People must have health insurance or pay a fine. Penalties for those who do not buy coverage will be phased in and reach $695 by 2016 or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greater. Subsidies will be offered to help people buy plans.

The “individual mandate” provision faces multiple legal challenges.

State-based health insurance exchanges aimed at one-stop shopping for plans will launch, aiming to help people more easily compare coverage and prices.

More consumer protections kick in, including the end of coverage denials to adults with pre-existing health conditions and a ban on yearly coverage limits.

Health insurance companies begin paying a $67 billion, 10-year tax to help pay for the overhaul.

Employers with more than 50 workers that do not offer health insurance will have to pay a fee per employee.


Premium health insurance plans offered by employers face new taxes.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by John O’Callaghan)

Factbox: Basic provisions and timeline for health law