What’s in the New Health Reform Law and How it Affects You

Welcome to my website about the new health care law and how it affects you. I hope you find this information to be a useful resource as you learn about the improvements we’ve made and how they will affect you.

Congress passed a landmark health care law that gives American consumers control over their health care decisions. The new law ensures that consumers retain their choice of provider, reigns in out of control insurance companies, and brings down costs. It phases out the gap in Medicare coverage for seniors, known as the prescription drug “doughnut hole”, and allows young adults to remain under their parents’ coverage until the age of 26.

Find out which private insurance plans, public programs and community services are available to you.

To see how the law can help you, choose which category fits you:


Stability and Security for Colorado Families

Coverage You Can Count on That Can’t be Taken Away

  • You will always have choices for coverage even if your job doesn’t provide insurance, you move to a new state, lose your job, hit a rough patch or fall sick.
  • You will always have coverage options at a reasonable price through the new Health Insurance Exchange.
  • You will have no lifetime or annual limits on coverage.If you become seriously ill or injured, you’ll never leave the hospital with bills too big to pay because your benefits have run out.

Help With the Cost of Insurance when you Need It

  • If you lose a job or hit a rough patch you will get help with your premiums until you are back on your feet.
  • If your workplace can’t afford to buy you insurance, your employer may get tax credits to help buy you coverage.

More Access to Care and Better Care for Your Money

  • Free preventive care to keep you well:No co-pays for vaccinations, cholesterol tests and other preventive treatments will have.
  • Discounts on premiums for healthy behaviors:You may qualify for up to a 30% reward off your insurance premiums if you enroll in a program to quit smoking, control your weight or other healthy behaviors.
  • No more overcharging older AmericansOlder Americans may now pay six or seven times as much in premiums as younger people for exactly the same coverage. Reform will put strict limits on how much more insurance companies can charge you simply because of your age.
  • More time with your family doctor:Your doctor will be able to spend more time with you and are coordinate your care with specialists
  • Cutting-edge care wherever you live:Your doctors will have the best and most up-to-date research at their fingertips through new electronic databases and record-keeping
  • Less red tape and paperwork:Your health care premiums will no longer pay for piles of unnecessary paperwork and red tape.

Security and Stability for Seniors

Health insurance reform will build on and improve the promise Medicare made to you: stable, quality care you can count on with absolutely no cuts to guaranteed Medicare benefits.

More Benefits. Better Benefits.

  • An immediate $250 for those seniors whose prescription drug costs are already too high and hit the “donut hole” gap in prescription coverage.
  • An end to the “donut hole” for prescription drug coverage.
  • Free preventive care for services such as cancer screenings, mammographies, and colonoscopies so you spend less on co-pays.
  • No co-pay for Annual prevention check-ups with your doctor.
  • Rewards and discounts for healthy habits.

See the doctors you need, when you need to see them, and get improved care.

  • More time with primary care doctors who’ll get to know you well, ensure you’re on the right medications and get you the tests and specialty care you need.
  • Special help in rural areas so you get the best coverage even if you live in remote areas.
  • Doctors and hospitals will receive more money when they prevent mistakes like infections from medical procedures and when they coordinate care for patients leaving the hospital.

Strengthening Medicare, protecting its future, and cracking down on waste.

  • Bigger penalties for violators and tighter oversight, so Medicare covers more of your health care instead of paying for rip-offs.
  • More money will be going to benefits and less to insurer profits.

Stability and Security for Small Businesses

No group fares better under reform than small business. That’s because the health insurance system was rigged against small businesses, which faced fewer choices, higher costs and—as a consequence—less stable coverage for their workers. The new health reform law will level the playing field and provide more stability and security to small businesses. Click HERE to access more about what health reform means for your small business.

More power and more choices.

  • Insurers will be competing for your business, and the marketplace will be fairer.
  • You will be able to pool your purchasing power with other small businesses to get better rates and benefits. You will have the same leverage in the marketplace that big companies enjoy today.
  • Reform will create an online exchange, where your workers can shop from an array of competing plans, not just one or two.

Lower premiums and stable coverage.

  • You will pay less for coverage. More competition will end the disparities between what big businesses and small businesses pay.
  • You may qualify for tax credits worth up to 50 percent of your share of health insurance premiums as an employer.
  • Your workers will qualify for financial help if they cannot afford their share of premiums.
  • Your premiums won’t spike if one of your workers suffers from a major health care problem.
  • You and your workers can’t be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

No new taxes or burdensome mandates.

  • You will not be required to pay for coverage you can’t afford.
  • You will be exempt from requirements that big companies will face to help pay for coverage for their workers.

Stability and Security for our Nation’s Military, Veterans, and their Families in Health Insurance Reform

Reform protects access to quality and affordable health care that veterans, active duty members, and their families have now.

Preserving VA Health Care.

  • You can have a peace of mind that the new law does not impact VA health care. The Department of Veterans Affairs has full authority over the VA health care system.

Preserving TRICARE and TRICARE for Life Benefits.

  • The health reform law does not affect TRICARE or TRICARE for Life. There is nothing in the legislation that leads to increases in co-pays, changes in eligibility requirements, or in any way modifies how TRICARE is administered. The Department of Defense keeps all authority to operate TRICARE.

Greater Flexibility and Choice for Veterans and Expanded Options for Affordable Care.

  • Veterans receiving VA health care can also enroll in new health insurance exchanges.

If you are a veteran not enrolled in the VA Health Care System, Click Here to see how the new health reform law benefits you and your family. Click here to learn more about VA Benefits.

Health Reform Law Will Help Tackle Runaway Costs

Cost-cutting measures in health reform mean American employers and employees will spend about $800 billion less on health care than they would have otherwise over the next 15 years. According to experts, the new health reform law could decrease the deficit by up to $1.2 trillion.

This bill will plug the leaks in the health care system while still protecting care:

  • More head-to-head competition among insurers and across states.
    Most workers can’t choose among competing health plans based on price and quality, which means less pressure to hold down costs. Reform will create an electronic marketplace where plans will compete for business through lower prices and better benefits while consumers get more choices. States will be able to pair with other states to allow people to buy insurance across state lines.
  • Move people from emergency rooms to routine care.
    In 2008, hospitals provided $36 billion worth of unpaid care, mostly for emergency room visits. The cost of unpaid care adds an average of over $1,000 to the average person’s premiums. Reform would provide affordable coverage so people are not forced to use emergency rooms for basic care. It would also require individuals to have insurance, which will reduce free-riding on free care.
  • Computerize doctors’ offices and hospitals and waste less time and money processing paperwork.
    The lack of information technology costs $81 billion a year in lost productivity and errors. Reform will dramatically expand electronic health records and e-prescribing, prevent mistakes due to illegible handwriting and provide doctors broad access to computer-aided treatment and research tools so they make the best treatment decisions. Between $50 billion and $70 billion a year is spent on administrative tasks such as filling out multiple variations on insurance forms and processing claims. Reform will simplify paperwork so that doctors can spend less time on paperwork and more time with patients
  • Reform also will:
    • Reduce the use of ineffective treatment that costs you money.
    • Eliminate unnecessary tests and procedures.
    • Create incentives to stay healthy and help manage health problems.
    • Help their workers be healthier by providing discounts on health insurance premiums for workers who maintain healthy habits.

Senator Bennet’s Work to Improve Health Insurance Reform

Senator Bennet worked tirelessly to improve health insurance reform and make sure it would benefit Colorado. His Community-Based Care Transitions Program was included as an amendment to the health care bill, expanding a model of effective care nationwide.

He led the fight to include the public option in the plan, to encourage competition and hold down costs in the private sector. Senator Bennet successfully fought to include several amendments in the bill that will lower costs and increase value for taxpayers. These amendments cut red tape, increase transparency, and limit excessive lawsuits.

Along with other Freshman Democrats, Bennet signed on to a package of amendments that will encourage public-private partnerships and fight fraud. Bennet also led the fight to protect and maintain Medicare. His amendment, which passed 100-0, states that nothing in the legislation will result in a reduction of guaranteed Medicare benefits. It also extends the solvency of the program, lowering premium costs and improving care for seniors.

Moving Forward with Reform

Health Care Reform may be signed into law, but Senator Bennet is still fighting to ensure that the legislation is enacted effectively and responsibly.

He continues to fight for the public option and is the author of a bill that would create a 'fail-safe' enforcement mechanism to guarantee that the legislation will reduce the deficit. Under Bennet’s plan, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would be required to make an annual assessment of the law's costs. If the health care law fails to meet its deficit reduction targets, OMB must prepare a plan to bring the law's savings back in line with its original projections.

Other health care initiatives Bennet is fighting for:

More News on Health Care Reform:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this a government takeover of health care?

  • No. Health reform will help Americans gain access to health coverage from private insurance companies. There will be no new government–run plan. The cornerstones of the American health care system, like employer-provided coverage, Medicare and Medicaid will be strengthened and improved by the bill. Health insurance exchanges will be created so that Americans can compare plans and prices from multiple private insurance companies. The government will not be taking over hospitals or private health care businesses, and doctors will not become government employees.

Does health reform use tax dollars to pay for abortions?

  • No. Absolutely no tax-payer money can be used to purchase health plans that cover elective abortions.

Are there death panels in health reform?

  • No. In fact, health reform ensures that Americans who need health care to save their lives can get it, by expanding access to health coverage, lowering costs and providing free preventative care.

Why can’t I have the same plan as Members of Congress?

  • You can. All members of Congress and their staff must purchase their insurance in the new Health Insurance Exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. The President and his family have announced that they will also be purchasing their health insurance in the exchange.

Does health reform provide coverage for illegal immigrants?

  • No. Health reform specifically prohibits any federal tax dollars paying for health coverage for individuals in the United States illegally.

If I like the coverage and doctors that I currently have, can I keep them?

  • Yes. If you like the health coverage you currently have, you can keep it. In fact, health reform will improve your coverage by prohibiting lifetime and annual limits on your coverage, requiring free preventative services, and ensuring that you will not lose your coverage if you get sick or injured.

Does health reform cut Medicare?

  • No. I authored, and the Senate unanimously accepted, an amendment to ensure that health reform will not cut any guaranteed benefits in the Medicare program. Health reform will strengthen Medicare, extending the solvency of the program and closing the Medicare Part D donut hole.

Health Care Reform Timeline

  • Washington Office
  • Denver Office
  • Pueblo Office
  • Alamosa Office
  • Eagle County Office
  • Colorado Springs Office
  • Fort Collins Office
  • Grand Junction Office
  • Durango Office