Healthcare News: The Affordable Care Act heads into 2015 with some changes, same goals
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is entering its second year in 2015 and many of the benchmark plans are changing.
A key feature of the Act starting in 2015 will be a new provision tying physician payments to the quality of care they provide. Physicians will see their payments modified so that those who provide higher-value care will receive higher payments than those who provide lower-quality care, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
In addition, the following updates will be in effect beginning 2015:
- The cap on health flexible spending account (FSA) contributions will increase by $50 to $2,550 from the current cap of $2,500 that was set in 2013.
- For families and individuals, the out-of-pocket- expenses limit will increase slightly to $6,600 for an individual and $13,200 for a family plan.
- The maximum deductibles for small group plans will be $2,050 for an individual and $4,100 for families
- 2015 penalties for lack of qualified health coverage will be significantly higher than 2014.
Uncertainties surrounding the Affordable Care Act are expected to continue through 2015, a Reuters article reports. Hospitals are expected to shift from fee-for-service models in which more patient services led to more revenue. Since they counted on healthcare revenue to balance operating budgets, several hospitals will likely feel the impact of the Act’s emphasis on preventative care and reduced hospital stays.
The Affordable Care Act also had provisions that provided opportunities for healthcare professionals to take advantage of new educational and professional development programs. Nursing programs have focused retention, improving delivery of care, diversity initiative and specialties including geriatrics and community-based care.
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. It has set a new direction for the U.S. healthcare system that includes an emphasis on preventive services and primary care. The Act addresses the need to meet quality care and improved health outcomes for consumers. It has also provided millions of people who were previously uninsured with coverage.