SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
September/October 2010, Volume 18, Number 5 

The Affordable Care Act Timeline

The Affordable Care Act doesn’t go into effect overnight. While some key provisions have already taken effect, other changes will be phased in gradually through 2014 and beyond. Year by year, this timeline shows you what’s happening when.

2010

March 23: President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act, a set of comprehensive health insurance reforms.

April 1: States can receive Federal matching funds to cover additional low-income individuals and families.

photo of an American flag with a stethoscope on it

July 1: A temporary Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan provides coverage options for people who have been uninsured for at least 6 months because of pre-existing conditions.

September 23: The following are in effect (for health plan years beginning on or after this date):

  • Young adults can stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.
  • Insurers can no longer deny coverage to children under 19 because of pre-existing conditions.
  • Plans must cover certain preventive services without requiring copayments or deductibles.
  • Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on essential benefits and face new restrictions on annual limits.
  • Insurance companies’ use of annual dollar limits on coverage is restricted for new plans in the individual market and in all group plans.
  • Insurance companies can no longer use innocent errors on customers’ applications to deny payment for services when customers get sick.

October: All state Medicaid programs must cover smoking cessation programs for pregnant women. States gain more flexibility in offering home- and community-based services under Medicaid.

A new $15 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund begins investing in proven prevention and public health programs, such as smoking cessation and combating obesity.

New funding will support the construction and expansion of services at community health centers, allowing them to serve 20 million new patients.

2011

January: States can opt to receive enhanced Federal funding to support health homes to coordinate care of persons with chronic illnesses, including those with mental and substance use disorders.

October 11: A new Community First Choice Option allows states to offer home- and community-based services to people with disabilities via Medicaid rather than institutional care in nursing homes.

2012

January 1: Physicians receive incentives for coming together in “Accountable Care Organizations” to better coordinate care, improve quality, prevent disease, and reduce unnecessary hospitalizations.

2013

January 1: States receive new funding to cover preventive services for Medicaid patients at little or no cost.

2014

January 1:

  • Individuals whose employers don’t offer insurance can buy insurance directly in an exchange—a new competitive marketplace for individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health plans.
  • Americans who earn less than 133 percent of the poverty level can enroll in Medicaid; states will receive 100 percent Federal funding for the first 3 years and 90 percent in subsequent years to support this expanded coverage.
  • Tax credits to make it easier for the middle class to afford insurance become available for people with incomes above 100 percent and below 400 percent of the poverty level who aren’t eligible for or offered other affordable coverage.
  • New plans and existing group plans may no longer impose annual limits on coverage (including hospital stays and other essential benefits).
  • Insurance companies can no longer refuse to sell coverage or renew policies because of pre-existing conditions; they can also no longer charge higher rates because of health status or gender.

Find more information on the health care reform timeline.


  Cover Story & Related Articles  
Health Reform: What You Need To Know

Health Reform: What You Need To Know

Health reform signals major changes for those with behavioral health needs.



  From the Administrator  
Leading Change

Leading Change

SAMHSA is taking a lead role in shaping health care reform policies. Read more.



  Suicide Prevention  
National Action Alliance Convenes

National Action Alliance Convenes

Launching a public-private collaboration to address the suicide crisis.

Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence

How many college students are lost to suicide each year?


  Military Families  
National Guard Trains Providers

National Guard Trains Providers

Behavioral health treatment providers experience boot camp.

November Is Military Family Month

November Is Military Family Month

A presidential proclamation and Veterans Day honor the Nation’s service members.

Real Warriors Get Help

Real Warriors Get Help

Behavioral health services are needed now more than ever.



  Oil Spill Update  
New Helpline for Gulf Coast Residents

New Helpline for Gulf Coast Residents

Toll-free helpline provides support. Call 1-800-985-5990.



  HIV/AIDS  
Hip-Hop Culture Builds Awareness

Hip-Hop Culture Builds Awareness

Hip-hop “Reaches youth where they are.”

Two Recent Conferences

Two Recent Conferences

SAMHSA’s Minority Education Institute, U.S. Conference on AIDS.



  Statistics & Data  
Drug Use Rises among All Ages

Drug Use Rises among All Ages

Drug use increased in 2009, especially marijuana use.



  Recovery Month 2010  
From

From “Active Addiction” to Recovery

At the Recovery Month launch, two people tell their stories. See event photos.



  Communications Update  
In Atlanta: Focus on Behavioral Health

In Atlanta: Focus on Behavioral Health

At the National Conference, SAMHSA officials focused on new technologies.

Scholarship Recipients Offer Feedback

What lessons learned came from attending the communications conference?

Special Session on Behavioral Health

Special Session on Behavioral Health

Why primary care physicians need to know “Behavioral Health is Essential to Health.”



  Older Adults  
In the ER: Older Adults & Illicit Drug Use

In the ER: Older Adults & Illicit Drug Use

How many emergency room visits involved illicit drug use by adults age 50 or older in 2008?



  Teens & Young Adults  
What a Difference a Friend Makes: Contest Winners

What a Difference a Friend Makes: Contest Winners

Entries show the importance of acceptance in recovery from mental health problems.

Violent Behaviors & Teens: Academics & Family Income Key Factors

Violent Behaviors & Teens: Academics & Family Income Key Factors

Nearly 7.8 million adolescents participated in violent behaviors in the past year.



  Also in this Issue  
Voice Awards Honor Former First Lady, Consumer Leaders

Voice Awards Honor Former First Lady, Consumer Leaders

Rosalynn Carter received the Lifetime Leadership in Behavioral Health Award.

New Quick Guide on TIP 42

New Quick Guide on TIP 42

Get at-a-glance information on substance abuse treatment for co-occurring disorders.



  Visit the SAMHSA Store  

Free Publications at Your Fingertips

The new SAMHSA Store offers publications and other Agency products. Visit store.samhsa.gov.

SAMHSA Store Video Tour

View the story of the SAMHSA Store.