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News Highlight
Dec 6, 2012

Ushering In New Healthcare Reforms

This is an image of a yellow page in a 2013 calendar. Benefits.gov wants you to know that on January 1, 2013, three new provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will take effect. Here's a rundown of these latest reforms:

Expanding Preventive Care - Medicaid programs covering preventive care will receive new funding to help more Americans gain access to these services such as screening for diseases like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or colorectal cancer, and conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and more. Medicaid is a Federal/state partnership; therefore, the types of preventive care services being offered vary by region.

Increasing Medicaid Payments to Primary Care Doctors - Starting on day one of the new year, states must pay primary care physicians no less than 100 percent of Medicare payment rates for primary care services. The increase is fully funded by the Federal government and is intended to grow the primary care workforce so they can eventually treat more patients entering the healthcare system under the ACA.

Bundling Payments - Also kicking off the new year is a national pilot program where hospitals, doctors, and medical providers receive a flat rate for services rendered, as opposed to filing individual claims for payment. It's called bundling. By rolling multiple claims into one, providers are incentivized to deliver the same high quality services, but more efficiently. As costs go down, any savings generated are shared by providers and the Medicare program.

As enactment of the ACA continues, Benefits.gov will keep you informed. Keep reading to learn about other health care initiatives currently being featured on our site:

Consolidated Health Centers - These federally-funded centers offer comprehensive primary and preventive health care and social services to medically underserved populations such as the homeless, migrants and seasonal farm workers, public housing residents, and school-aged children. Services are provided to eligible individuals within a service area without regard to ability to pay.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) - An FSA is a tax-favored program offered by employers that allows employees to pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses using pre-tax dollars. Before 2012, there were no specific limits on the amount of money you or your employer could contribute to an FSA, because each plan has its own requirements. However, under the ACA, and starting in 2013, a $2,500 contribution limit takes effect.

Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grants - The Department of Health and Human Services, a Benefits.gov partner, sponsors the operations of these centers which support certain preventive services and screenings, similar to those identified under the ACA.

To explore a range of healthcare programs and options, visit Benefits.gov and select "Healthcare" on our "Browse by Category" page.