So, you're an insured/uninsured/not sure, parent/student/both who noticed that the Supreme Court gave President Obama's health care law the O.K. today. You know the law has some parts that will probably affect your life, but you don't know when.
Thankfully, the good folks at the government are here to help. Over at healthcare.gov, they've posted a nifty timeline detailing when the provisions in "ObamaCare" (not their wording) take effect.
A lot of boxes have already been checked. On July 1, 2010, uninsured people with so-called pre-existing conditions were given new options to get insurance. A lot of things happened in September 2010 - like young people getting the chance to hop on their parents' plan (offer void when they turn 26), free preventive care like mammograms being offered, and insurers losing the chance to deny care to people who make errors on their health care forms. On Jan. 1, 2011, seniors began getting discounts on prescription drugs.
There are lots of unchecked boxes. In October, for example, health records will be transferred from paper documents to electronic forms. In January of next year, state Medicaid programs will be given more funding to cover preventive services, some of which will be free.
2014 is big. In January of that year, the much-discussed insurance exchanges will be created. According to the government, "Starting in 2014 if your employer doesn't offer insurance, you will be able to buy it directly in an Affordable Insurance Exchange. … Exchanges will offer you a choice of health plans that meet certain benefits and cost standards."
At the same time, the so-called mandate will go into effect, meaning that if you can afford to buy health insurance, you will be required to - or, per today's Supreme Court ruling, you'll have to pay a tax.
More 2014 news includes: More Americans will be eligible for Medicaid, limits on insurance coverage will be removed, and insurers will be barred from charging higher rates based on gender or health.