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What changes will take effect on January 1, 2014?

Consumers will see a number of major changes in plans sold or renewed on or after January 1, 2014:

  • Plans must include new consumer protections. Health insurers can no longer deny or refuse to renew coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition. They also can't charge a higher premium due to a person's gender or health condition.
  • Insurers must cover routine medical costs if a person participates in a clinical trial for cancer or other life-threatening diseases. Insurance plans also can't put annual dollar limits on essential health benefits.
  • Individuals who can afford it must have basic health insurance coverage, referred to in the ACA as "minimum essential coverage."
  • Exchanges, which will begin enrollment on October 1, 2013, are expected to start operating in every state.
  • Individuals and families who need help affording coverage may have access to financial assistance when they shop in the new health insurance exchanges.

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