The federal health care law that passed Congress in March is one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in a long time. Some key components went into effect Thursday.
Politics aside, how will these provisions affect average people?
Ann Marie Munn, vice-president of Meridian's Benefits Management Group, explains that not all changes have taken effect.
"The day that the President signed the healthcare reform bill, some of the provisions went into effect that very day. Others went into effect six months later, which is today. But much of it is being phased in: January 1, 2011, some January 1, 2012, 2013. The majority of it will go into effect in 2014," said Munn.
Some elements of the new health care law stand out more than others. One of those is the fact that parents may now buy coverage for their adult children through age 26. But there are other elements to consider.
"For the year 2010, there's a small business tax credit. There are some limitations there. There has to be a certain number of employees. The average salary has to be a certain amount," said John Rae, office manager of BMG. "But they can get up to a 35% tax credit on the premiums they've paid on their employees for the year 2010."
Munn says there is another notable provision that is currently in place. It applies to coverage of children with pre-existing conditions.
"Nineteen and under, you do not have a pre-existing exclusion applied to you if you have any kind of medical condition. Over 19 is going to be phased in down the road," Munn said.
Rae and Munn agree that your human resources department or insurance broker can provide the best advice when it comes to your individual health care plan.
The provisions of the bill will continue to kick in over the next eight years, with the final provisions doing so in 2018.
The total price tag is expected to be more than $800 million, with 31 million new Americans becoming insured.