How Does The Affordable Care Act Affect Medical Expenses

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How Does The Affordable Care Act Affect Medical Expenses In Personal Injury Cases?
Prior to the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) on January 1, 2014, it was generally assumed that most personal injury plaintiffs would pay for future medical expenses out-of-pocket rather than with any type of insurance. Now with "Obamacare" comes the potential for significant changes to the way personal injury cases are settled, and the amount for which they are settled. In examining its impact on damages awards, it must be noted that the ACA has survived many legal challenges and will likely have to survive more.

Probably the ACA 's most important effect is that all Americans must be covered by some minimum level of health insurance. Private insurers are no longer allowed to discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions. Also, most health insurance plans must include and cover “essential health benefits,” such as hospitalization, therapy, medication, and other types of "essential" services. Thus, most, if not all, of the health benefits a victim may require are included in the definition of “essential health benefits.”

Personal injury plaintiffs often utilize a life care plan which details the client 's current and future medical needs and expenses arising from a defendant’s negligence. The jury considers the life care plan as it considers any other evidence. As the effects of the ACA manifest over time, life care plans may no longer assume
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