The Healthcare Reforms of 2012!
Benefits.gov wants you to be informed about the healthcare reforms and changes in 2012 that may affect you and your loved ones.

In March 2010, the Affordable Care Act established a number of immediate changes to America?s healthcare system to improve quality and lower costs of healthcare, as well as increase access to healthcare for Americans, including: Since then, 28 other changes have gone into effect, such as increased access to home and community based services for people with disabilities through Medicaid. The remaining provisions of the law will continue to be rolled out into 2015 and beyond. You can see what changes have already taken place and what is yet to come by visiting the What?s Changing and When timeline on Healthcare.gov.

The following changes went into effect earlier this year:

As of January 1, 2012 ? Encouraging Integrated Health Systems - The new law provides incentives for physicians to join together to form ?Accountable Care Organizations.? In these groups, doctors can better coordinate patient care and improve the quality, help prevent disease and illness, and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.

As of March 2012 ? Understanding and Fighting Health Disparities ? To help understand and reduce persistent health disparities, the law requires any ongoing or new Federal health program to collect and report racial, ethnic, and language data. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will use this data to help identify and reduce disparities.

Be on the lookout for the following changes to go into effect later this year:

October 1, 2012 ?
Reducing Paperwork and Administrative Costs - The new law institutes a series of changes to standardize billing and requires health plans to begin adopting and implementing rules for the secure, confidential, electronic exchange of health information. Using electronic health records will reduce paperwork and administrative burdens, cut costs, reduce medical errors and, most importantly, improve the quality of care.

October 1, 2012 ? Linking Payment to Quality Outcomes - The law establishes a hospital Value-Based Purchasing program (VBP) in Original Medicare. This program offers financial incentives to hospitals to improve the quality of care. Hospital performance is required to be publicly reported, beginning with measures relating to heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, health-care associated infections, and patients? perception of care.

If you want to learn about the type of insurance that may be the best fit for you, Healthcare.gov has a free tool available to help you Find Insurance Options.

If you are looking for healthcare-related government assistance and want to know what is available, visit Benefits.gov and click "Healthcare" on our Browse by Category page. To check your eligibility for healthcare-related programs and over 1,000 other forms of government assistance, use our simple Benefit Finder by clicking "Start Now" on the homepage.